With the any health and well-being problems we have in NSW/Australia, which we want to talk to a specialist/expert about:-
(1) It will take us quite a lot of time and trouble to locate the person or persons best able help us, when the number of “waste of time waste of money doctors” seem to far outweigh those who know what they’re talking about.
(2) It will probably take us 3-4 weeks, if not 6-8 weeks, to get an appointment to see any doctor we feel may be worthwhile consulting.
(3) If they have an appointment system, which most GPs, at least, don’t, when we go to see them they will usually be late for the appointment.
(4) Whatever they advise us won’t be in writing. To overcome this, we advocate that after we’ve had a consultation with a doctor, that we send them a letter along the lines of “My understanding from today’s consultation is blah blah blah. Have I got this right?” But even when you do this, lots of doctors don’t even acknowledge your letter, let alone provide a reply.
(5) Even when specialists report back to our referring GP, if we’ve had one, these reports are often full of lies, and don’t represent what went on in our conference at all, and, in any case, don’t cover what we want covered, And some GPs won’t let us have copies of these reports anyway.
(6) The fee to see a specialist will certainly be not less than $225, and even if we’ve taken the time and trouble to get a referral from a GP, to enable us to get some money back from Medicare, we will still be more than $150 out of pocket, even if we’re a pensioner.
(7) If the advice we’ve been given turns out to be total rubbish there is almost certainly nothing we can do about it – this is certainly the case if we don’t have things in writing, and even if we do, organisations like AHPRA and the HCCC don’t care.
We realise that organisations like the Australian Medical Association will fight “tooth and nail” to keep things exactly as they are, it generates so much more money for their members – but we’re not sure that the new communication technologies that have come into being in the last 20-25 years will allow them to do this. In fact we’re very sure they won’t.