I had my medical appointment at Knightsbridge today and I thought my experience might be useful to others, particularly those with mental health issues in their past.
I arrived at Knightsbridge at 1.30pm for a 1.50pm appointment. I found the location instructions in the e-mail they sent me to be very useful and I found it easily (I walked, using google maps as a guide). The receptionist told me to wait in the waiting room as I was a bit early, and return to the counter when it was my appointment time. I was SUPER NERVOUS, I can't even begin to tell you. The waiting room is quite comfortable, and it was quite busy when I was in there. at 1.50pm I returned to the counter, and the receptionist requested all my documents (they give you a list of what to bring in the e-mail) so that she could photocopy them. She photocopied everything and returned it all to me, except my passport and ID photographs. She gave me a urine sample bottle and some more paperwork to fill out, which was mainly general medical questions. When I was done, I returned that to the counter and went back to the waiting room.
Almost immediately I was called to have my chest X ray. The technician was friendly and gave me clear instructions on what to do. You have to remove all clothing from neck to waist, but they give you a gown to wear and you're never exposed. It was very straightforward. He then took me straight to the nurse to go over my vaccinations, however I didn't even sit down with her as she said she'd looked over my immunisation record and everything was in order, and she had signed me off. (For reference, I'd gotten a flu jab, MMR 2nd dose, and DTaP at my GP prior to the appointment, and I had chickenpox as a child which they took my word for).
After this I went straight to the bathroom to do my urine sample. As I came out of the bathrooms, the doctor was already waiting for me! I handed my urine sample in to reception and went straight in with the doctor. She did some ID checks, and then asked me some medical questions about my general health and medical history. I don't have much significant history, just mental health issues which I'll go onto in a minute. She took my blood pressure, and asked me if I was nervous, and I said I was very nervous! I'm guessing my pulse was high. She was very reassuring and said there were lots of horror stories online, but that it was simple process and I shouldn't worry. She was really friendly and reassuring and put me at ease as much as possible. She said all the information I had brought with me looked good. We then talked about my past mental health problems.
(Warning: discussion of depression & self harm ahead)
I had depression for most of my late teens and early twenties (I'm 32 now). I was a self-harmer for many of those years, which caused me significant physical scarring that is still very visible on my arms to this day. I was diagnosed with Depressive Disorder NEC, and I was on medications for a number of years. I didn't make any suicide attempts, and I was never hospitalised for depression, but I was treated by a GP, psychiatrist and mental health team. I've been off antidepressants since 2015 and have been stable since then. I had read lots of posts about the medical on VisaJourney, so in advance I spoke to my doctors and requested a patient summary, my medical notes relating to my depression, as well as a summary letter regarding my depressive illness from my current GP. It cost me £75 as it was classed as a "complex letter/report" by my surgery, but I figured it would be worth it if it meant there were no hitches with my visa medical. I'll post an example of what the doctor wrote for me at the end of this post.
After I answered her questions about my mental health history, she said she thinks the documents I provided will be sufficient. She said they *may* want copies of old letters between my GP and mental health services, and if they do (I'm not sure who "they" is! I should have asked), then they will contact me in the next few days. However, she said in her opinion the GP letter and report was enough. She said what they are mainly looking for is whether the illness is resolved or still ongoing.
After this, she took my height and weight and did some brief physical checks like lymph nodes, eyes/ears/mouth. I then had to undress to underwear and sit on the examination table (she said I could wear a gown if I wanted). She checked my chest, lungs, tummy, joint movement, and reflexes. I then dressed again and she took a blood sample. She said the blood and urine sample are to check for syphilis and gonorrhea, and the chest X ray for TB. After this she said I was all done, and I just needed to head to reception in order to complete payment! I had only been in there for 55 minutes total and I was expecting it to take longer.
I paid the £330 fee at the reception counter, and the receptionist gave me my immunisation record (that I need to keep safe for the Adjustment of Status phase), and my passport back.
And that was it! I was in and out of there in just under an hour. I'm hoping that they don't request any more information from me about my mental health history. If they do, I'll update this so that in future people might know exactly what they want for mental health history, as in the instructions e-mail they send it doesn't specify - indeed the doctor asked me how I knew to get the letter from my GP and I said I had read about it on web forums.
I hope this is helpful! In the end it was a lot less painful than I expected. I'm glad I had prepared by reading online about what documents to take with me, but equally doing all that research probably contributed to me feeling so anxious about the whole process. All the staff at Knightsbridge were friendly and gave good clear instructions about what to do so I didn't feel confused at any point. With mental health issues, it seems that they are looking to collect the full picture of diagnosis/treatment/prognosis in order to be sure that the issue has been dealt with. I imagine they ask further questions or want a bit extra info if you ever had suicidal intent. It seems you just need to have enough evidence to back up that you are now well and not a risk to anyone so it's probably worth collating that some time before the appointment to avoid the inevitable long wait for the GP surgery to get it all together.
Documents I requested from my GP 4 weeks prior to the appointment:
* Medical records relating to my Depressive Disorder NEC diagnosis. This was 2 and a bit A4 pages which just describes the visits to medical professionals that I made, that related to my diagnosis. It spanned 10 years, from my diagnosis in 2005 to my last visit when I was weaning off medication in 2015. It didn't include any details about visits to minor injury units after episodes of self-harm, though I did disclose these to the doctor when she asked. It also didn't include any info about the counselling I received, and I don't think there's anything on there from the psychiatrist either (though I think I only saw them once or twice - they only oversaw the changing of my meds, I can't really remember too well).
* Patient summary (everyone needs this, not just those with prior mental health issues)
* A letter detailing my mental health diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis from my GP containing a few key phrases (like that I am currently well and healthy, and I am not a risk to self or others). Here's what the GP wrote:
I write in my capacity as GP at [GP surgery] where this patient is registered.
[Patient] was diagnosed with Depression in 2005 aged 19 years. She was treated with [medication]. At this time she was self-harming by making cuts to her arms. She was switched to several different SSRI antidepressants - [medication], then [medication]. She also received some counselling. She was referred to see a psychiatrist in 2009 and her antidepressant was switched to [medication]. She was stable until 2012 when she was referred back to mental health services and was again quickly stabilised back on antidepressants. She has never made a suicide attempt.
She has been off antidepressants since July 2015 and her mood has been stable since this time with no more episodes of self-harm or depression. There is no indication that we should expect her to have further episodes of depression. It is of my opinion that [patient] is of no risk to herself or others.