Fees update

As of 1 July 2022, the doctors will no longer be automatically bulk billing patients with a healthcare or pension card. We are introducing a concession rate to allow us to continue providing the best possible healthcare while also recognising that there are those in our community that are experiencing financial hardship.

We are aware that some patients have the need for frequent medical consultations, and that there is a wide range of people who are holders of healthcare cards. We want to keep looking after all our patients and do not want to discourage your attendance.

If you have financial concerns about paying the concession consultation fee or really can’t afford any gap at all, please discuss this with your doctor or flag it with reception over the phone. This ensures any discussion is held in a confidential environment.

How to pay and how to claim your rebate

Payments can be made by cash or debit/credit card at the end of your consultation. We submit your claim to Medicare at the same time.  If you have a Debit Card, the MBS rebate will be paid instantly into your bank account by Medicare. In practice this means that your out-of-pocket expense will be the total expense incurred. (see also separate post about Medicare Safety Nets)  

 Service Description FeeMedicare Rebate Out of Pocket
                                   PRIVATE Standard Consultation  $88  $39.70  $48.30
 Long Consultation$138 $76.95 $61.05
 Extended Consultation$185 $113.30 $71.70
                             CONCESSION Standard Consultation  $65  $39.70  $25.30
 Long Consultation$107 $76.95 $30.05
 Extended Consultation$148 $113.30 $34.70

Please note that the fee for a consultation will depend on the duration and complexity of issues covered and is determined by the Doctor.  Other fees will apply for Mental Health Plans, procedures, etc. Your doctor can advise you of these costs and the rebates that apply.

What you can do to manage this change

  1. Ensure that your bank account details are up to date with Medicare. You can do this on the Medicare Express Plus app or ask our staff for the form to send to Medicare.
  2. Let Medicare know about family members who you would like to be counted towards your Extended Medicare Safety Net. Your rebates will increase once your annual out-of-pocket costs reach a certain threshold, reducing your healthcare costs for the rest of the calendar year.
  3. Talk to your doctor about the number of regular appointments you might need and your financial situation.

What is the Medicare rebate?

Medicare rebates are paid to patients by the Government as a subsidy towards their health care. Many healthcare providers charge a private fee which is higher than the Medicare rebate, so that the patient pays the full fee and claims the rebate back from Medicare.

“Bulk-billing” means that the patient assigns their Medicare rebate to the doctor who accepts that amount as full payment for the service.

Why is this change happening?

Since it’s inception, Medicare rebates have not kept pace with any other economic markers, such as the Consumer Price Index.   Medicare rebates are usually indexed annually but in 2013 they were frozen for a total or 5 years.    In 2019 the freeze was lifted, but the annual indexation since then has been around  1.6-1.8% , which is less than the CPI and Wage Price index over that time. This equates to an annual increase of  about 65cents for a standard consultation.   The Medicare rebate for general practice consultations is now less than 50% of the AMA recommended rate for health care.

Over the same period, the costs of running a practice have gone up significantly, as for other small businesses. These include staff, rent, IT, utilities, insurances and equipment, all of which have increased by higher rates over the years.

We have absorbed those cost increases for many years. It is not possible to operate a medical practice on Medicare “bulk billing” alone without seeing patients at a much quicker rate , known in the healthcare industry as “6 minute medicine”. Private billing allows us to continue to provide the quality and standard of care we think everyone deserves.

Doctors availability

We welcome Dr Naomi and Dr Laavanya who will both be offering appointments at the practice from April. Please click on the links to read about them. Appointments can be booked on line.

Dr Cara and Dr Joe are both away during May.

If you are wondering where your usual doctor is there are a few on extended leave at the moment – Dr Nicolette, Dr Shereena, and Dr Anna have all had a baby in recent months and will be back at the practice later this year.

COVID positive results and close contact info

Information for patients diagnosed with COVID 19 – Erskineville Doctors

I’ve tested positive for COVID 19, what do I do now?

If you have severe illness including shortness of breath, fainting, inability to eat and drink or any other severe illness dial 000 and inform the operator you are COVID positive.

  1. Stay home – do not go out. If you have tested positive on a Rapid Antigen Test and have symptoms you should assume this is a true positive result. You do not need to get a formal PCR test.
  2. You should register the positive result with Service NSW. (1800 960 933) as soon as you can, as this will trigger a survey to check about your immune dysfunction, chronic disease, age and vaccine status. as well as your symptoms. This is to ensure that higher risk patients can get the care they need. This might include medications that need to be started within 5 days of your first symptoms. *
  3. Contact us within 5 days if you are in any of these categories: Aged 70+ Aged > 50 with 2 comorbidities; Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged >30 or over with 2 comorbidities; Aged > 18 with immunocompromising condition, especially if you have not received 3 COVID vaccines.
  4. Read the following home isolation guideline to help keep your family/ household and the community safe Confirmed cases of COVID‑19 – Fact sheets (nsw.gov.au) and Self-isolation rules for cases and people exposed to COVID-19 | NSW Government. The RACGP guide has more detail.
  5. Members of your household and anyone who has spent more than 4 hours in your home or in a home like setting are considered close contacts. Please provide them with the following advice Close contacts of COVID-19 – Fact sheets (nsw.gov.au) 
  6. You should also notify anyone you have been in contact with for the 48 hours before your symptoms started that you have COVID 19. If you have no symptoms, then the time frame is 48 hours before your positive test. See Information for people exposed to COVID to help those people assess their risk and what they should do.
  7. If you are vaccinated, most cases should be relatively mild, though you might experience muscle aches, sore throat, cough, headache and fatigue, dizziness.  Some people have no symptoms at all. There is information about how to manage at home, but please call us for a consultation if you have concerns. Rest and hydration is important, as you can expect ongoing fatigue even after other symptoms have gone.
  8. If you are >65, have chronic health issues, are pregnant, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander or are unvaccinated, then RPA Virtual will most likely be coordinating your care at home. If you haven’t heard from anyone in the health system , especially if you are concerned about your symptoms, please call us for a telehealth appointment and we can put you in touch with RPAV. Please let reception know you have COVID and are not well and that you are concerned about being high risk.
  9. Anyone else, that is people <65 who are vaccinated, will be deemed “low-risk” and assumed to be able to look after themselves at home. If you feel unwell or are worried/ have medical questions, please phone us and let our receptionists know that you are COVID positive.  We will triage you for a telehealth appointment.
  10. Read the following information about what symptoms to look out and when and how to seek urgent care on the RPAH virtual website: GP care (nsw.gov.au)
  11. You must self-isolate for 7 days from the day you were tested. However, you can only leave self-isolation after 7 days if you do not have a sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath. If you still have symptoms on day 6 or later, please discuss with your GP, RPA Virtual or the NSW Care at Home Support Line 1800 960 933 as you may need to stay in isolation longer. Either way you should avoid spending time with vulnerable people for a further 7 days.

If you have a positive test but do not have any symptoms

  • Isolate at home and contact people you have seen whilst infectious as above 
  • Monitor for symptoms and call the practice for a telehealth appointment if any concerns 
  • You will receive an SMS from NSW Health after 7 days but you do not have to wait for this SMS to leave self-isolation if it has been 7 days since you were tested. See also Recovery and Release information.
  • If your employer requires information about whether or not you can attend work, please show them this information from NSW Health. Depending on the work environment your employer could elect to keep you working from home, or do RAT testing. We are not able to provide medical certificates for return to work.

If you have symptoms you are worried about, please ring Erskineville Doctors to organise COVID care 

What will COVID care at Erskineville Doctors look like? 

  • An initial assessment with one of the GPs via Telehealth – please book this ASAP  via reception and let them know you are COVID positive. 
  • Check ins with the nurse or GP as needed, depending on the severity of your illness
  • Consultation on day 6 to review and discussion de-isolation. NOTE: NSW health should send a de-isolation SMS to you 7 days after your positive test result. If you have had no symptoms in the previous 24 hours you can leave isolation. We suggest that you take precautions for a further 7 days if going to a high risk environment or visiting someone who is more vulnerable .

Fees – Our usual fees apply for GP consultations.

Nurse only consultations may incur a non rebatable fee

For guidance please refer to the symptom list on the following document by RPA virtual: GP care (nsw.gov.au)  and the RACGP guide                                         

Christmas and New Year break

The practice will be closed on all Sundays and Public Holidays over the Xmas period. Please get organised now to sort out any prescriptions that are due for renewal. You can use our online system to make a request.

Many of our patients are planning to take leave soon as well. We wish you all the best and suggest everyone take the opportunity to get some rest but also to do whatever it is that recharges your energy.

Opening hours are:

Friday 24 December 8.00am-12 noon – Drs John, Jodie, Anna and Patti

Saturday 25 December -Tuesday 28 December – CLOSED

Wednesday 29 December – Friday 31 December 8.00am-12 noon only – Dr Jenny

Saturday 1 January – Monday 3 January – CLOSED

Tuesday 4 January – normal opening hours resume

Doctors will be on leave as follows:

Dr Cara 11-19 December

Dr Annabel 20 December – 4 January

Dr Linda 20 December – 10 January

Dr Paul 24 December -13 January

Dr Anna 15-12 January

Dr Cara 15-23 January

Dr Jenny 17-30 January

Telehealth appointments only during lockdown

Under the current Public Health Orders a reasonable excuse for leaving home is for essential medical care. Following advice from NSW Health we are booking all of our appointments as telehealth consultations, unless your presentation requires a face-to-face appointment for clinical reasons. As a default we will talk to you first and then arrange to bring you in for examination.

Telehealth appointments will be billed as per our usual billing policies.

Reasons for coming to the practice include:

  • immunisations – scheduled childhood vaccinations that are due (not the extras), fluvax and COVID vaccination
  • antenatal care – later stages of pregnancy only
  • a health issue that requires physical examination (after phone triage)

We are booking patients for a phone or video consultation first, and we can then arrange for patients to attend the practice if the clinical situation requires a physical examination. Video consultations are easily done through our Automed booking system – you’ll be sent a link to a secure URL to paste into the browser on your computer or device. You do not need to use the Automed app to do this.

The booking system will currently book all appointments as “Telehealth” – this can still be done as phone call if you choose.The booking system requests your card details but will not take payment until the consultation is complete. Holders of Healthcare Cards will still be bulk-billed.

If you have any respiratory symptoms, or are concerned about a potential COVID exposure, you MUST have a phone consult and we can then advise you of the best course of action. Please check our COVID page for all the information about where to get COVID swab or respiratory assessment.

If you need attend the practice the doorway is screened off. Please wait there until someone can attend to you. What we will do at the front door:

  1. ask you to put on a surgical mask
  2. check again if you have any symptoms of concern – flu-like symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc
  3. ask you to check the latest NSW COVID exposure sites and confirm you have not attended any of those
  4. check in with NSW Service app QR codes – this is mandatory as of 12/07/21
  5. your temperature will be checked
  6. use hand sanitiser as you enter the practice

What we are doing to protect you:

  1. screening patients as above
  2. keeping in place all the infection control measures we have had to date – masks, hand sanitiser, cleaning
  3. wearing other protective equipment as required – we have been asked by NSW Health to wear PPE for all face to face consults
  4. ensuring our staff are vaccinated

How Technology is helping (or not!)

Video consultations add an extra dimension to telehealth consultations – observation allows for better assessment of acute illness. If you think your particular problem needs to be photographed you can email to reception@erskinevilledoctors.com.au.

Prescriptions can be sent to your phone or email as an e-script. You can also choose for them to be sent to the phone of someone in your family or emailed directly to the pharmacy.

DHM Pathology have a telehealth service for request forms. Once the request is sent to DHM they will send you an SMS with a link to a barcode and a copy of the pathology form.

Wherever possible we will use secure messaging for referrals, or send directly by fax to so that you don’t have to come into the practice.

If you require something to be emailed to you, we ask that you send that request to reception@erskinevilledoctors.com.au so that we can send it by return email – this is an extra layer of security.

Payments for telehealth appointments can be taken over the phone. We are grateful if you can respond to messages from our staff to pay promptly. Please ask staff if you would like your receipt emailed.

Repeat prescription and referral requests online

Erskineville Doctors accepts requests for prescriptions and referrals online from regular patients. Please see conditions below.

The practice policy is not to write prescriptions or referrals based on telephone requests if you have not attended the surgery in the last 12 months. The doctors appreciate the chance to see you and review your medical issues.

You can request a short phone consultation for a repeat referral or prescription. As at June 2020, Medicare rebates apply for phone consultations.

In some situations the doctor will not be able to write a prescription without reviewing you, for example pain medications or sleeping pills.

Prescriptions can be sent to you as an electronic prescription directly to your phone.

If you do not wish to have a phone consultation, administrative charges for the service of reviewing your file and providing a prescription or referral will apply. Extra administrative fees may apply for faxing/posting, or for services provided on the day.

New online booking system

As of Monday 1 March we will be moving to a new online booking system – Automed. Automed has several new features that will help us manage booking, appointment reminders, results and reminders, and online ordering for repeat scripts/referrals.

You will be able to use Automed from our website or by downloading the AMS connect app.

Not all of the features will be immediately available, but we will be adding things over the next few weeks.

We appreciate your feedback if you are encountering any issues as we transfer to this new system.

Electronic prescriptions

You can now receive your prescriptions in an electronic version directly to your phone. We can do this either during a telehealth consult or when you are in the practice.

An e-script comes to your phone as an SMS that opens a link to a QR code. The pharmacist scans the code to unlock your prescription. Repeat scripts are sent back to your phone as another SMS. You can save scripts in a Notes folder on your phone or in one of various apps (many pharmacies are creating their own)

https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/electronic-prescriptions

If you do not have a Medicare card you will not have an Invidual Health Identifer number that allows us to do e-scripts. You can however apply for one here.

Doctor’s Leave Sep/Oct

Just a quick update on who will be away in September/October.

We will be closed on Monday 5th October as this is a public Holiday.

Dr Jenny will be away 28 September- 4th October

Dr Annabel will be away 3 – 10 October.

Dr Cara is away from 17 – 31 October.

Dr John is away 15 – 23 October

If your regular doctor is away and you need an appointment please call to discuss with our staff on 9557 2266. They will arrange a time with one of our other doctors, who can hand over care back to your regular doctor if needed.