Since 2011 a record number of GPs started training as part of the Australian government’s new health reforms, with the aim of helping people reach doctors closer to their home. This means, in most cases you will be able to find a local doctor or medical center close to where you work/live. The quickest way to locate your nearest doctor isto look at the Yellow Pages under ‘medical practitioners’ or to speak to people in your community who they would recommend. Most medical centres tend to be open from 8.30am-6pm, although some open 24hrs a day.
You will usually need to call the doctor to make an appointment. Medical centres with a fair number of doctors on site, do allow ‘drop in’ appointments but be prepared to wait a while. You will be seen more swiftly if you are not hoping to see one particular doctor. In the case of an emergency it is recommended you go to your local hospital. Doctors and private specialists have access to free interpreters if required to better communicate with you.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist should you require further treatment or tests. Both doctors and specialists are able to prescribe medicines and you will need to bring your prescription to a pharmacy or chemist to receive them. Should you have a Medicare card or Health Care card bring them with you, as then your medicication may be cheaper.
What will it Cost?
The costs of visiting a doctor will depend on whether you are registered for Medicare (see Medicare section for further information). Most doctors charge from $50 (although some charge up to $80) for a standard consultation, which is usually 10-15 minutes. If a lengthier consultation is required it is usual to request this at the time of your appointment and therefore you will be charged a higher fee. Those patients registered for Medicare receive a rebate, which is around $30 for a doctor's services. Medicare also rebates 85% of the schedule fee* non hospital services and 75% of the schedule fee for in-hospital services.
* The schedule fee is the amount Medicare has a treatment listed at. In many cases doctors 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