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Q&A with Mr Andrew McEvoy, Consultant Neurosurgeon

Mr Andrew McEvoy is a world-leading Consultant Neurosurgeon at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and the UCL Institute of Neurology in Queen Square.  In this interview, Mr McEvoy discusses his specific areas of surgical expertise and how the services that Queen Square Private Healthcare operate, aid him in offering surgical care to private patients in Queen Square.

Q: Thank you for speaking with us Mr McEvoy. Please could you tell us a little about about your areas of expertise?

A: I have the largest adult epilepsy surgical practice in the UK and do a huge amount of brain tumour surgery. I actually do the largest number of ‘awake’ craniotomies in the UK – for surgeries like this, the high-level of work done at Queen Square Imaging Centre (QSIC) is absolutely essential. Although my expertise is in brain tumours and epilepsy I also do more general neurosurgical work on spines, backs and the like.

Q: What keeps you coming back to the Queen Square Imaging Centre?

A: I keep coming back to the QSIC for a number of reasons. One is that geographically, it is obviously very helpful as it is located in the same Square as me. Another is its excellence. If you were to ask anyone in the UK where the experts in neurosurgical and neurological illness are, then they would say here in Queen Square. The third is the quality of the staff doing the reporting – they are second to none. They are also extremely responsive and, especially when working in the private sector, people are likely to turn up and ask for a scan that morning and want the results immediately. The staff are very good at facilitating that and getting you a report very quickly.

The imaging centre’s facilities are also superb, as it has forms of private imaging that others don’t, such as functional imaging and diffusion tensor imaging.

Q: Why do you choose to hold private clinics at the Queen Square Private Consulting Rooms?

A: I hold my private clinics at the Consulting Rooms because they are excellent – a really first class facility. They are well managed and with good secretarial support. Patients have a lot of choice with private practices and sometimes, as doctors, you forget the little things that make a difference. I know where I would go to seek the most expert opinion, but patients look at other factors such as whether they are given a coffee or how quickly the staff answer the phone. I think sometimes doctors forget that and think, “but I’m the best”, forgetting that the patient does actually have a choice and their decision depends on the facilities too.

Q: How much of a role do you think patients play in the decision of which facilities they will be referred to?

A: A lot of clinicians have been attracted to the new PCRs because of the work that comes from being associated with Queen Square. When someone is diagnosed with something like a brain tumour, the first thing they will do is search the internet and many of the people talking and writing about neurology and neurosurgery are at Queen Square. The patient will then seek a second opinion or a consultation with these people which will of course generate more imaging work for QSIC, as they will send them to the people they trust to get the imaging done.

Q: You have spoken at previous events in The Queen Square GP Seminar series. How do you think GPs benefit from attending these events?

A: I don’t think GPs appreciate how much more effective surgery is at treating certain forms of epilepsy when compared to drugs – often GPs worry too much about the perceived risks without considering the advantages. With refractory epilepsy there is a 70-80 per cent chance of curing patients with surgery. However by giving the patient another drug, the chances of  a cure are more like 3-4 per cent.  The key is for the surgeon to select patients who will benefit from surgery well and to have a good multidisciplinary team.  Having the ability to speak to primary care doctors allows me the opportunity to share this knowledge with GPs and inform of them, and their patients, of the choices available to them in centres such as ours.