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FAQs from women and the public

Answers to questions put to the College by women and their carers

These FAQs are mostly helpful for those living in the UK. 

We've divided the FAQs into 3 sections for ease of use:


FAQs about the RCOG and doctors in O&G

  • What does the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) do?
  • What’s the difference between an obstetrician and a gynaecologist?
  • What are the different grades of doctor in the UK?
  • How can I tell from the title and letters after the doctor’s name what sort of doctor I’m seeing?
  • How do I know if my doctor is properly qualified and up-to-date?
  • Is there any way to let the RCOG know of my experience?

FAQs about your condition and treatment

  • I’ve read about a particular treatment for my condition – how do I go about finding a doctor who carries this out?
  • Where can I get more information about my condition or my treatment?
  • Where can I find support groups to get more information about my condition or treatment?
  • If I find information about my situation on the internet or elsewhere, can I share it with my doctor?
  • Do I have a choice of hospitals?
  • Do I have a choice of treatments?
  • If I’m told there’s nowhere in my area I can get treatment, what can I do?
  • How do I find out about doctors/centres offering help with fertility problems?
  • Is there any way I can find out about a particular doctor’s success rate with a particular treatment or procedure?

FAQs about your appointment

  • If my family doctor or midwife refers me to a gynaecologist or obstetrician, can I choose who I see?
  • Can I request someone else to be present when the doctor is examining me?
  • What happens if I ask to be seen/treated by a female doctor only?
  • What happens about medical students or other doctors being present?
  • How do I see a private gynaecologist or obstetrician?
  • If I have seen a doctor privately, can I switch back to non-private treatment at a later time?
  • How do I get a second opinion after I’ve seen one specialist?
  • Can I ask the doctor not to inform my family doctor or other healthcare professional about my treatment, condition or medical history?
  • Will I see the letters written to my doctor after a consultation?
  • Can I keep the same consultant if I go into hospital?
  • If I’m unhappy or uncomfortable about some aspect of the way my doctor has cared for me, what can I do?
  • Are language translators available if necessary?


Contact us

The College is unable to advise individuals about specific medical conditions and methods of treatment. However, if there’s anything you don’t understand, or if you’d like more information, please email us at or call +44 20 7772 6443.


Elsewhere on the site

Patient information leaflets
Read our information leaflets, designed especially for women and their carers
Who is your doctor?
Find out more about the different grades of doctor you may meet, and how they are trained and assessed