In 2011 a record number of GPs started training in Australia as part of the government’s new health reforms, with the aim of helping people visit and see a doctor closer to their home. This means, in most cases you should be able to find a local doctor or medical center near to where you work/live. The easiest way to locate your nearest doctor is in the Yellow Pages under ‘medical practitioners’ or to ask people in your community who they would recommend. Most doctors work from 8.30am-6pm, although some work longer hours and there are a few open 24hrs a day.
In most cases you will need to call the doctor to make an appointment. Medical centers, that have a number of doctors on site, do allow ‘drop in’ appointments but you may have to wait a while and you will be seen quicker if you are not hoping to see one particular doctor. If it is an emergency it is recommended you go to your local hospital. Doctors and private specialists are able to use free interpreters if required to better communicate with you.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist if you require further treatment or tests. Both doctors and specialists can prescribe medicines and you will need to bring your prescription to a pharmacy or chemist to get them. If you have a Medicare card or Health Care card bring them with you, as your medicines may be cheaper.
What will it Cost?
The cost of visiting a doctor depends on whether you are registered for Medicare (see Medicare section for further information). Most doctors charge around $50 (although some charge up to $80) for a standard consultation, which is usually 10-15 minutes. If a longer consultation is required it is usual to request this at the time of your appointment and you will be charged a higher fee. Those patients that are registered for Medicare receive a rebate, which is around $30 for GP services. Medicare also rebate 85% of the schedule fee* for out of hospital services and 75% of the schedule fee for in-hospital services.
* The schedule fee is the amount Medicare has that treatment listed at. I many cases GPs will charge more than the schedule fee.
For more information on Medical Practitioners go to www.health.gov.au
To find a local medical practitioner go to www.yellowpages.com.au