Specialist Outpatient Clinics

On this page:

What are specialist clinics?
How do I get an appointment at a specialist clinic?
How long do I wait for an appointment?
Are there alternatives to Specialist Outpatient Services?
How long is my referral valid for?
How will I be notified of my appointment?
How do I change my appointment?
What do I do if I no longer need or want my appointment?
What do I do before my appointment?
What do I bring to my appointment?
What can I do if I have special needs?
Parking
Am I entitled to transport and accommodation assistance?
How should I give feedback about my appointment?
Can medicare ineligible patients attend the specialist clinics?





What are specialist clinics?
West Gippsland Healthcare Group is a public health care facility.  We provide specialist clinics for assessment and care of patients by specialist doctors and healthcare professionals.  These clinics are sometimes called ‘outpatients’.  They are for patients who are currently not admitted to hospital.  

At West Gippsland Healthcare Group, we have the following specialist outpatient clinics:  

Consulting Suites:-
  • Gynaecology
  • Maternity (obstetric) care
  • Geriatrician

Preadmission Clinic:-
  • Preadmission assessment prior to elective surgery
  • Anaesthetic assessment prior to elective surgery

Allied Health:-
  • Diabetes Educator
  • Dietetics
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy

Surgical Ward
  • Stomal Therapy Nurse
  • Urology Nurse

WGHG Consultant Listing - All Suites


How do I get an appointment at a specialist clinic?

Patients are referred to a specialist clinic by a general practitioner (GP), another specialist or a healthcare professional.  Some clinics will accept a referral from the patient or a relative.  

Your referring doctor will write a referral letter to the clinic and post or fax the referral to the clinic.  

The referral letter will be to an individual specialist or a group of specialists. For example, your GP may ask for a specialist assessment of your medical problem.  Sometimes patients are referred for follow-up after treatment in the emergency department; or after being an inpatient in Hospital; or after having a baby.

For some allied health outpatient services, your referral will be sent to “First Call” which is an administrative intake referral service.  You will receive a phone call from First Call, who will do an initial screening assessment and provide you with more information about the allied health services provided.

When your referral is received we will prioritise your appointment based on the information the referring doctor has provided about your condition.  You might receive an appointment date straight away or be placed on a waiting list to receive an appointment at a later date. The clinic will contact you and your doctor with information about the outcome of your referral.


How long do I wait for an appointment?

Waiting times for appointments will vary across the clinics. If you are worried about your condition while you wait for an appointment, you should speak to the doctor who referred you and talk about the options available to you.

Your GP is usually the best person to manage your health until you are seen at the clinic.  Please contact your GP if you are worried about your condition.  Your GP will advise the clinic staff if your condition is deteriorating. In an emergency, you should dial 000 for an ambulance or attend an emergency department.

Your GP may be able to suggest treatments to assist you while you are waiting to see the specialist.


Are there alternatives to Specialist Outpatient Services?

Referrals to private specialists are an alternative to attending a specialist clinic.  There are some private allied health services for which a referral is not required.  There may be out of pocket costs involved.  A list of private medical specialists is available through the Australian Health Directory Online.


How long is my referral valid for?

Referrals from GPs are generally valid for 12 months from your first appointment. 
Referrals from a specialist to another specialist are valid for 3 months from your first appointment.


How will I be notified of my appointment?
We will send you a letter or phone you with an appointment date.  You may receive other letters about your appointment, for example your doctors may want you to have special tests before your first appointment, such as X-rays or blood tests.  

Appointments are made according to the referral priority.  These are:

 

  • URGENT: we will contact you and arrange an appointment within 30 days of receiving a complete referral.  We will send your referring doctor a letter to say you will be seen within 30 days.
  • ROUTINE: we will send you a letter with an appointment time.  Your referring doctor will be sent a letter with the expected time frame for your appointment.  Our ability to see patients who are prioritised as ‘routine’ depends on the demand for our services.


How do I change my appointment?

If you need to change your appointment please contact the clinic as soon as possible.  We will make every effort to move your appointment to a date or time more suitable to you and when the specialist is available, although this might mean a longer wait.

Please notify the clinic as soon as you are aware that you are unable to attend.

If you miss appointments without notifying the clinic, you may have to start over by getting a new referral from your GP.  


What do I do if I no longer need or want my appointment?
If you are unable to attend or no longer need your appointment, please contact the clinic.   You can help to reduce waiting times for other patients by making sure you let the clinic know if you can’t attend your appointment.


What do I do before my appointment?
  • Obtain any test results needed for your appointment
  • Make a list of any medications or dietary supplements that you take
  • Write down any questions you may have for the specialist
  • Check your confirmation letter for the location of your clinic appointment
  • Check our map to find the location of your clinic

 


What do I bring to my appointment?

On the day of your appointment please bring:

  • Medicare card, pension card or any other concession card you hold (your Medicare card must be presented each time you attend clinic)
  • Your appointment confirmation letter
  • Your GP details: name, address and phone number
  • List of current medications
  • Any medication or supplements you may require during your hospital visit (note that there is a cafeteria available for purchasing food and beverages.  An ATM machine is located close to the cafeteria)
  • Entertainment (TV entertainment and a small range of toys and magazines are available)


What can I do if I have special needs?

We are able to assist patients with special needs when attending clinic appointments. If you are hearing or visually impaired or need an interpreter, it is important that you notify the clinic prior to your appointment so that assistance can be arranged for you.


Parking

Free parking is available close to each of the entrances to the clinics.  There are also drop off zones outside each entrance.


Am I entitled to transport and accommodation assistance?
If you live in rural and regional Victoria, seeing a medical specialist can require a lot of travel and you may also require accommodation. The Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) may provide financial help for costs involved. VPTAS provides financial subsidies to eligible patients living in rural and regional Victoria who need to travel long distances to access medical specialist services.
You may be eligible for subsidies if you meet all three of the following requirements:

 

  • You live in rural Victoria.
  • Your treatment is included in the list of eligible medical specialist treatments.
  • You need to travel 100 kilometres or more one way or you need to travel (on average) 500 kilometres per week for five or more weeks in a row.

For information on how to contact your local VPTAS office contact:


How should I give feedback about my appointment?

You can give your opinion about the care or the service you receive in any part of the hospital.  This may be in the form of a compliment or a complaint.  

The various feedback options are noted below:-

 

  • On our website:  www.wghg.com.au  
  • Compliments and Complaints pamphlets are available in any part of the hospital
  • Contact the Director of Medical Services on (03) 5623 0611

The Director of Medical Services, or representative, will work with you to find a resolution to any complaint or, if necessary, investigate the matter further.

For details on your rights and responsibilities as a patient, please visit the Victorian Public Hospital Patient Charter website at: www.health.vic.gov.au/patientcharter

 

Can medicare ineligible patients attend the specialist clinics?

If you are an overseas visitor from a country which Australia does not have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with, you will be treated as a Medicare Ineligible Patient.  This means you will have to pay for all medical care and treatment.

A Medicare ineligible person is any visitor to Australia who does not hold a valid Medicare card, or is not included under one of the classifications below:

 

  • Reciprocal Rights
  • Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Reciprocal Rights

  • The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the governments of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta* and Italy*.
  • *Covered for Medicare for a period of six months from the date of arrival in Australia.
  • These agreements may entitle you to limited subsidised health services whilst visiting Australia.

For more information, please go to our website at:  www.wghg.com.au
You can also contact Finance Department on phone number (03) 5623 0794 between 8am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday for more information.