Melbourne Hand Surgery

FAQs

Our practice receives a high volume of email enquiries. These FAQs deal with some of the most commonly asked questions.

Can you provide me with a quote or estimate for surgery?

happy man on phone striped shirtI don't provide quotations or estimates for surgery outside of a consultation. It is necessary for me to assess you to provide you with an accurate quotation and also to assess if the procedure you are enquiring about is the appropriate one for you. My medicolegal defence organisation advises surgeons not to provide patients with surgical quotations or cost estimates until after a consultation, so it is not possible to provide you with a quotation via email or phone. More information about my fees can be found here.

The 2016 AMA Private Health Insurance Report Card provides an excellent insight into the significant differences between private health insurance rebates from different insurers. When you attend for a consultation we will advise you whether you may be eligible for Medicare and private health insurance rebates, and will provide you with an indication of the possible rebate(s) you may receive. It is imperative that you contact your private health insurer to confirm your coverage and the applicable rebate(s), as for privacy reasons your private health insurer does not make this information available to us and we do not know the details of your policy and coverage. More information about private health insurance differences including policy exclusions is available here

Can you tell me what type of surgery you would suggest or do for my condition?

I cannot provide consultations via email but I would be delighted to see you in my rooms so that I can discuss your medical history with you, examine you and advise you what options are possible and what I recommend.

Do I need a referral to see you?

If you wish to receive a Medicare rebate for the services provided you must bring a valid referral to your consultation. You can see me without a referral but you will not be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate. 

Can you recommend a doctor, hand therapist or surgeon for me?

I do not provide recommendations via email to individuals who are not existing patients. I would be delighted to see you in my rooms so that I can discuss your medical history with you, examine you and advise you what options are possible and what I recommend.

I’ve lost the x-ray request form I was meant to have before my follow-up visit. Can you write me a new one?

I can write you a new one and leave it at the rooms for you to collect. Please understand that I am not in the consulting rooms every day so it may take some time to arrange this.

Can you let me know what my results are by email?

I advise the majority of patients about the outcome of their pathology and radiology tests at their next appointment. If I become aware of unexpected or concerning results I will contact patients via telephone earlier than their next scheduled appointment. For privacy reasons I do not send results via email unless they have been discussed with you in a consultation and you specifically request to receive a copy of your results via email.

Can you send me a medical certificate or a prescription?

I do not provide medical certificates or scripts when these are requested outside of a consultation. Please be sure to obtain a medical certificate or a prescription at the time of your consultation or surgery. If you need a medical certificate, a prescription or additional medical paperwork provided between your consultations please see your general practitioner. If you have lost a medical certificate that was printed at your last appointment it may be possible for my administrative assistant to email you a copy of the certificate if it is within our electronic records.

Can you send me a referral?

I do not provide referrals for you to see another medical specialist when these are requested outside of a consultation.

If the referral you are seeking is not one that I have personally recommended or written at the time of your most recent consultation, or is to a different specialist from who I wrote your referral to, then I ask that you see your general practitioner (GP) to obtain the referral that you are seeking. There are a few reasons behind this. Firstly, a specialist referral is only valid for three months, whereas your GP's referral is valid for 12 months. Secondly, if your medical treatment requires the input of more than one specialist it is a good idea that your GP be involved. The GP's referral requires that the specialist communicate back with a diagnosis and management plan. Many patients are unaware that I routinely write to their GP after their consultation, copying in other involved specialists and your hand therapist (where indicated), and that this important communication often goes on for months after the initial consultation, often after hours and behind-the-scenes. GPs often co-ordinate the treatment plan and generally see the big picture. They frequently have detailed information regarding your other medical problems in your file, whereas your specialist often does not. There are important legal and medical reasons to ensure that the doctor you are being referred to is provided with accurate information about your medical problems, allergies and medication list. Thirdly, some GPs do not appreciate specialists referring patients on to other specialists. Fourthly, you may also find that your GP is able to provide you with a more timely referral, as it may take some weeks before there is an open appointment to see me to obtain the referral.

I'm travelling from interstate or overseas, can you arrange everything so that I can be treated in one visit?

I welcome enquiries from interstate and overseas and wherever my patients come from I try to streamline patient care so that you do not have to make unnecessary visits or trips. It is not possible to be sure that you are suitable for the procedure or operation you are seeking until after you have a consultation, and it is possible that during a consultation I may make the assessment that you require additional investigations before surgery could be recommended or that surgery is not appropriate during your scheduled visit to Melbourne.

I cannot provide medical advice via email to prospective patients, so I am not able to engage in email correspondence regarding what scans or tests should be performed prior to a consultation. If your referring medical practitioner wishes to contact me prior to your appointment to discuss what scans or investigations should be performed I can discuss this with them.

If you wish to seek a consultation and treatment please:

  • forward a referral from your treating medical practitioner to our rooms; please ask your doctor specify if he/she is able to participate in a telehealth consultation about your care.
  • include the contact details of your nearest or preferred hand therapist in the information that you send to us, as in most instances patients who have hand surgery require care from a hand therapist after the procedure if they are to have an optimal outcome. Please contact the hand therapist to ascertain what your treatment costs are and the waiting time to obtain an appointment.
  • bring recent x-rays of your affected finger, hand or wrist, along with the images (hard copy or on disk) of any scans that you have had performed, and any other relevant investigations such as nerve studies, blood tests or cardiac investigations.

It is important that I am able to contact a doctor and hand therapist who are prepared to be involved in your post-operative care so that I can check that you will have access to appropriate care after your surgery. I want my patients to have an optimal outcome from surgery and hand therapy and medical reviews are required. There are increased risks associated with "fly-in, fly-out" surgery because if you do not receive the correct post operative care your outcome will be compromised. If you experience a complication once you have returned interstate or overseas it may be difficult to access specialist assessment and treatment. I will do everything that I can to minimise these potential problems through clear communication with your doctor and hand therapist.

If you are visiting from overseas please be aware that you will be required to pay upfront for your treatment. We will provide you with receipts for your payments that you can forward to your health insurance company to claim reimbursement.

FRACS

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