May 2023: Meet Dr Keith Duncan

Dr Duncan, could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Keith Duncan, I am a consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with over 25 years of experience with the NHS and private sector. During my career, I’ve delivered over 3,000 babies, including normal, assisted, and caesarean births. As an ardent supporter of choice in childbirth, I’ve actively promoted women’s health both domestically and internationally, serving on the Council of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. In 2001, I earned accreditation as a sub-specialist in maternal and fetal medicine, and I’m a proud member of the British Maternal & Foetal Medicine Society. My research focuses on ultrasound scanning and development in utero.

How often do I need to see you during my pregnancy? 

Initially, during pregnancy, I recommend reviewing every four weeks at 20, 24, 28 and 32 weeks. As the due date approaches, I suggest reviewing at 34,36 and 37 weeks and weekly until delivery.

Will I have scans throughout my pregnancy?

I would normally scan at most visits but would advise scans at 12, 20, 28 and 34 weeks in general and then at term if undelivered.

What are the main differences between private sector and NHS pregnancy follow-up?

In my opinion, patients have more scans in the private sector, due to increased opportunities for surveillance and availability.

What tests and assessments should pregnant women expect during private sector follow-up? How often should they see their obstetrician?

Pregnant women should have regular scans, blood tests and material well-being assessments at each visit which would include toxoplasmosis and CMV screening along with GBS screening. It is advisable to schedule appointments every 4 weeks during the first and second trimesters, then, every 2 weeks after that. If required, weekly appointments should be scheduled.

What advice do you have for pregnant women considering a private follow-up?

How can they choose the right obstetrician or clinic? It is important that the clinic has availabilities and scanning facilities, I suggest reviewing their previous patient’s feedback.

The benefits of private follow-up come at a cost to patients. Do private insurances cover it well?

While many insurances cover medical expenses, you may have to pay upfront and submit a claim for reimbursement.
It is important to note that some insurances may only cover Caesarean sections for medical reasons. Therefore, it is recommended to communicate with your insurance provider to confirm the specifics of your coverage.

What led you to become an obstetrician, and what do you find most rewarding about your work?

I never imagined I was going to end up as an obstetrician, and initially considered general practice, but after delivering my first baby I was hooked. I also enjoyed scanning which led to me being able to assess babies to make sure they are ok and in particular twin pregnancies.

Delivering babies is the best job in the world. At times, it can be very stressful, for the doctors as well as for the woman labour. It is a job which demand long and unpredictable hours. My own family frequently has to take second place to ensure the safety of my newest arrivals. But in spite of these challenges, every time I deliver a baby and see that moment of pure joy when the family embraces their new member for the first time, I’m sure there can be no better feeling in the world. I know it’s a job well done, and one I wouldn’t swap for anything!

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