When moving to a new location, one of the most important priorities is to find a doctor that is best for you and your family. Choosing the right centre is certainly vital to your health and well worth the extra time that it may take. The process can be quite a tricky one.
Follow these tips to guide you through your important task and help inform your choice.
Do Some Preliminary Research
Initially you could seek advice from your current doctor and ask your local pharmacists for suggestions. Your friends and family may also have helpful recommendations.
Browse websites, such as the Australian Doctor's Directory, that enable you to search by area. They'll provide a list of doctors and the types of specialist services that they offer.
Book Initial Consultations
Of course, there is no substitute for personal experience and an actual meeting with the doctor. In the first consultation you are able to get a good general idea. You can see if there's a fit and you are comfortable with their approach and personality.
Be prepared to shop around and not settle with the first one or two practitioners you see if it doesn't feel quite right.
Signs to watch out for:
- A sense of being rushed through your visit
- A feeling of not being properly listened to
- A quick jump to receiving a prescription or referral
In addition, you will certainly notice if there are continually long waiting times -- but in fairness this can only be judged over several visits.
Check out the Practice or Medical Centre
In today's environment it is quite rare to find a general practitioner operating alone. Teamwork is almost universal, and most doctors work in a medical centre. Consider which centre services are most important to you. Such things as:
Opening hours- Does the centre offer extended hours? This may be an essential if you find it difficult to leave work during normal business hours.
Additional Services- Additional services, such as physiotherapy, an on-site pharmacy and home visits may be more convenient.
Male and Female Practitioners- If you would prefer to consult with a female doctor, check that the centre offers a reasonable selection of female doctors to choose from.
Verify the Billing System
Ultimately, your deciding factor may rely on the practice being a bulk-billing medical centre. This is a huge benefit for tight budgets as there is nothing to pay up front and no hassles for claiming a rebate from Medicare.
However, many GP's have a fee that's above the standard Medicare fee and charge privately. This means you need to pay the amount of the gap between the government rebate and the doctor's scheduled fee.
In the end the billing system may actually make the decision for you.Share