In Australia, anyone is entitled to make an appointment to see a specialist. However, in order to receive the full Medicare rebate for your visit to assist covering the cost, a valid referral from a medical practitioner is required. A referral from a general practitioner is valid for 12 months from the day it is activated (the first consultation with the specialist), unless indicated otherwise. A referral from another specialist (for example paediatrician, immunologist, ophthalmologist, neurologist or another ENT specialist) is only valid for 3 months.
General practitioners work hard to develop a thorough understanding of your health concerns, and can convey a good deal of information about your medical history (including allergies and medications) in a succinct manner via a referral letter, which consequently helps us approach your ENT health problem in a wholistic manner. In addition, a referral requires a specialist to write a report back to the referring GP, with clinical findings and a management plan. This two way communication helps ensure an up to date treatment plan for your health problems.
Please note that medical practitioners cannot legally provide a backdated referral letter after the specialist consultation, so it is important to ensure you have a valid referral before being seen, if you wish to claim the Medicare rebate. Our staff will advise you if your referral is due to expire before your next appointment.
We are also happy to see patients who may not be eligible for Medicare, including visitors who may have overseas or travel insurance.