There are more GPs in training in Australia than ever before as part of the government’s health reforms. It is intended that more people will be able to visit a doctor closer to their home. In most cases, therefore, you should be able to find a local doctor or medical center near to where you work or live. An easy way to find your nearest doctor is in the Yellow Pages under ‘medical practitioners’ or check with people in your community who they would recommend. Many medical centres are open from 8.30am-6pm but some work longer hours and there are some open 24hrs a day.
Often you will need to telephone the medical centre to make an appointment. Medical centres having a number of doctors on site often allow ‘drop in’ appointments but you will have to wait for a while and you will be seenmore quickly if you are not hoping to see one particular doctor. If it is an emergency then go to your local hospital. Doctors and private specialists will use free interpreters if required to better communicate with you if your main language is other than english
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist should you require further treatment or tests. Doctors and specialists can prescribe medicines and you will then need to bring your prescription to a pharmacy or chemist to receive them. If you have a Medicare card or Health Care card take them with you, as your medicines may then be cheaper.
What will it Cost?
The cost of visiting a medical centre depends on whether you are registered for Medicare (see Medicare section for further information). Many doctors charge around $50 (although some charge up to $80) for a standard consultation being 10-15 minutes. If a longer consultation is required you will request this at the time of your appointment and be charged a higher fee. Those patients who are registered for Medicare receive a rebate, around $30 for GP services. Medicare will 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 which Medicare has that treatment listed at. In many cases GPs will charge more than the schedule fee.
For more information on Australian Medical Practitioners go to www.health.gov.au
To find a local medical practitioner then go to www.yellowpages.com.au