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Goonellabah Medical Centre Questions

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page of Goonellabah Medical Centre!

Here, we aim to address the most common queries and concerns our patients have. Whether you’re a new visitor looking for information about our services or a returning patient seeking clarification, this section is designed to provide you with clear and concise answers.

We understand that navigating the healthcare landscape can be daunting, so we’ve compiled this comprehensive resource to assist you. Browse through the questions below to find the information you’re looking for, and if you don’t find what you need, feel free to reach out to our friendly team directly.

Each doctor sets their own fees for visits and procedures, which change from time to time. Reception staff can provide you with the current fees for your doctor.

To enable us to bill you correctly please show your Medicare and Pension cards to the receptionist on arrival. We ask that you pay the fee at the time of your consultation. Holders of concession cards attract additional discounts.

We expect payment at the time of the consultation. You can pay with cash, credit card or EFTPOS. We can process the Medicare rebate back to your EFTPOS card at the time of payment.

If you have already registered your bank details with Medicare, when your receipt is processed here, the details can be sent to Medicare and Medicare can credit your rebate within a few days directly to your account. You may also like to upload your receipt to your Medicare via your MyGov account for processing.

For a complete breakdown of fees, please view our Practice Staff page for more information.

Workcover Appointments – We require payments for initial appointments if you don’t have a claim number. You may lodge your receipt with your employer for reimbursement.

How you are billed is a matter between you and your doctor. As a general rule we do not bulk bill consultations. If you have a particular concern in this regard, you will need to discuss it with your doctor.

Appointments for urgent things are arranged on the day. For routine matters, the wait for an appointment varies. If you want to see a particular doctor, or need a particular time slot, it may take a week or two until a suitable appointment is available.

A standard appointment is usually between 10-15 minutes. Please ask the receptionist to book a long consultation if you need a general check-up, have more than one problem to be dealt with or need a consultation that will include counselling. If the doctor has asked you to arrange an appointment for a procedure, they will indicate how long will be needed for that procedure, and whether one of the theatres needs to be booked as well.

We do have limited ‘on the day’  appointments for urgent matters and walk-ins.

We understand that sometimes circumstances change and you may not be able to keep an appointment. Please let us know as far ahead as possible, so that the appointment can be allocated to another patient. Patients who repeatedly make an appointment and then do not arrive, may find it difficult to make appointments in future, and may be asked to pay in advance. Missed appointments or late cancellations may incur a fee.

Generally yes.

Medicare requires that you have a referral letter from your GP to see a specialist. It is illegal for referrals to be backdated. Therefore, we request that you make an appointment with your GP at least one week prior to your specialist appointment so that your GP can write a letter containing all the relevant information.

Prescriptions usually last 6 months, so that necessary checks can be done before you continue on. It is important that when you fill the last repeat, you make an appointment with your doctor so that a new script can be provided in a timely way. It is usually possible to synchronise scripts if you are taking several medications, so that they come due together.

A certificate states that the doctor has seen you and that you are fit/unfit. So you do need to be seen if you need a certificate.

We try hard to keep to time, however injured and unexpectedly ill patients can, and do, cause delay. You can help too. Please ask the receptionist to book a long consultation if you need a general check-up, have more than one problem to be dealt with or need a consultation that will include counselling.

It is important that you ring reception for your results, usually about a week after the test has been collected. It helps if you can ring in the afternoon. The doctor writes a short message on the result, which is what the receptionist will read to you. If you need further information, you may need to make an appointment to discuss the result with your doctor.

Reception staff will use three identification methods prior to giving results i.e. date of birth, last 3 digits of mobile number and address.

Privacy laws make it illegal for us to disclose any information about a patient, even to family members, without their prior consent. If you want a family member to have access to your results, you will need to ask the receptionist to note that in your file before you leave.

Unfortunately, doctors will not generally be able to take patients’ phone calls during a consultation as it is important to keep interruptions to a minimum. The doctor will return your call as soon as is practicable. If the matter is urgent please let staff know the nature of the urgency so that your call can be dealt with appropriately. Many things are best discussed in person, especially as an examination may be needed to sort the problem out.

If you need to be seen urgently, please let our receptionists know and tell them the general nature of the problem. If necessary they can direct you to our treatment area for assessment by our trained nursing staff.

It is up to the discretion of your doctor. Home visits are available if the patient is unable to come to the surgery due to major illness or receiving palliative care.

Our medical record is kept electronically, so that whichever doctor or nurse you see, can find what they need to know to help you manage your health. Results of blood and xray tests are sent to the Practice electronically, so they can be added accurately to the file. Many specialist letters are now also sent this way, as are hospital discharge summaries. Paper letters are scanned so they can be stored electronically too.

We would like to improve our service. If you have had any problems with our care, our after-hours emergency cover, colleagues or wish to comment on any other matter, please contact us.

Experience has shown that if you have a problem with your doctor, it is best to speak to him or her first. We have a suggestion box in our waiting room feel free to leave us a message.

If you are still unhappy we would like you to write a letter to:

The Managing Partner

Goonellabah Medical Centre

616 Ballina Road GOONELLABAH,

NSW 2480

Your feedback is important to us so please write.

Should the matter not be resolved to your satisfaction after bringing it to our attention you may wish to contact the the Health Care Complaints Commission at:

Locked Mail Bag 18 Strawberry Hills, NSW, 2012 Phone (02) 9921-9744

If a patient calls the after-hours number, the call will be directed to the on call doctor. Please leave a number if the doctor doesn’t pick up so they can call you back when available.

For emergencies, please call 000.

The doctors at GMC continue the care of our patients whether they are no longer able to attend the surgery, or move into a care facility. Not all doctors attend all facilities. So it may be another GMC doctor who looks after you. Check with your usual doctor as part of your planning for the move.

If the need arises for an interpreter within this practice, our administration staff can assist in organising a phone connect or onsite interpreter. The service is a national service provided by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The service is free for Medicare-rebatable services provided to Australian citizens or permanent residents. The service offers both male and female interpreters on request. It is best to allow at least 48 hours for an on-site interpreter. To contact TIS National directly, call 131 450 or go to the website at  

While we highly recommend wearing masks for everyone’s safety, it is no longer mandatory at our venue. For further details on mask guidelines, please visit the NSW Health information page for ‘Guidance on wearing face masks’.

Online bookings are available soon for some doctors.

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