The provision of quality health care requires a doctor-patient relationship of trust and confidentiality. Consistent with our commitment to quality care this practice has developed a policy to protect patient privacy in compliance with privacy legislation.
OUR POLICY INFORMS YOU:
- That we need your consent to collect information about you
- Why we need to collect information
- How your information will be used by us and to whom we may need to disclose it
- That you may request access to the information we hold about you (there will be a fee suggested by the AMA for this service)
- That you may discuss any concerns you have about how we handle your information
Your medical record is a confidential document. It is the policy of this practice to maintain security of personal health information at all times and to ensure that this information is only available to authorised members of staff.
Further information on our policy is available at reception. Or click here to read our policy.
To find out more about accessing your medical records & your rights click here or call1300 582 113.
TELEPHONE CALLS & EMAILS
Telephone calls and emails to your GP
Urgent telephone calls to your doctor will be endeavoured to be dealt with immediately, ideally by your doctor if they are not in a consultation, or answered by a practice nurse. If your call concerns non-urgent matters, the doctor will be asked to return your call as soon as is convenient, but in that same day. Replies to emails will be returned ASAP.
The doctors prefer to discuss results with you in person. This will require a follow-up consultation. In the case of a normal result you may be able to phone and check with the practice nurse that the results have returned and have been marked as ‘normal’ by your GP. If the GP needs to discuss a result with you they will alert reception to call you and make an appointment with the GP which will be charged as a review item rather than full consult cost. Such sensitive discussions can not generally be made over the phone.
REMINDER & RECALL SYSTEM
Reminder and Recall system
Emerald Medical Centre uses its IT system to input & generate confidential reminders for important health requirements, eg to notify you when some routine tests or vaccinations are due (e.g. pap smears, 75+ and 45-49 year old health assessments). We can either do this via a text, if you have a registered mobile phone, or by posted letter.
These systems are not infallible, but we are constantly trying to improve. If you would like a reminder for a routine test/examination or you would prefer not to be on a recall system, please let the receptionists know.
Equally, if you would prefer to opt out of receiving these reminders please talk to your GP, nurse or the practice administration team.
REFERRALS & REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS
Referrals & Repeat Prescriptions
In the interest of patient safety, these always require a consultation since GPs believe that this is an essential part of good quality care.
If a GP needs to provide a referral letter, which is a medicare requirement, it is usually after carefully taking a history, examining the patient, considering the medical conditions, the treatments used and, other treatments a GP could use, and, once a referral is agreed upon how a specialist can help.
Likewise repeat prescriptions should be provided in a consultation since the GP is required to check on the patient’s progress, effectiveness of the medication, any adverse effects and also the safety of prescribing more of this medication.
If the doctor considers it safe to provide these services with no consultation then these services may be provided at a $10 fee which is non-rebatable from Medicare (who insist that the care be given face-to-face in order to pay for medical services).
OPIOID MEDICATIONS/DRUGS OF DEPENDENCE POLICY
Drugs of Dependence Policy
Opioid painkillers (e.g. morphine, oxycontin, pethidine, fentanyl etc), benzodiazepines (valium/diazepam, xanax/alprazolam) or amphetamines will not be provided for non-cancer patients on a first consultation by any GP at Emerald Medical Centre. Methadone is not provided at this medical centre either.
At Emerald Medical Centre we are sensitive to the fact that there is a high prevalence of drug-seeking behaviour for opioids, and there is a high risk these drugs may be sought and diverted for misuse or trafficking.
In order to assist patients to continue to be provided with these medications over an extended time we insist that patients respect our policy that:
- Any new doctor takes all necessary steps to satisfy themselves that the medication is appropriate to their care. This may involve:
- A thorough consultation to consider the history of diagnosis, consider previous treatments and their effectiveness, examine for signs of disease or evidence of harmful misuse of substances and then generate a pain management plan with the patient considering the range of conservative and medical options (which may or may not include these medications).
- A urine drug screen to check for harmful use of substance of dependence.
- The GP is given time to seek evidence from previous healthcare providers of the patient’s medical history and medications.
- Seeking information from the Prescription Shopping Information Service (PSIS) operated by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
- The GP applying for a permit of approval from the Department of Health & Human Services Drugs & Poisons Department to continue to prescribe these medications on an ongoing basis (this is a legal requirement as per Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017.
- Generating a contract between the GP and patient to comprehensibly document the agreed duties of the doctor and patient in providing these prescriptions
- The patient only seeks the prescriptions from Emerald Medical Centre.
- The patient only consults their regular GP for these prescriptions. Minimum quantities will be provided by a substitute GP in Emerald Medical Centre.
- The patient will not be provided with prescriptions any earlier than the time that the most recent prescription was due to expire.
- Lost or stolen prescriptions will not be replaced until that prescription was due to expire. In absolutely exceptional circumstances will replacements be considered.
- Any coercion to prescribe or aggression towards staff will not be tolerated.
- The GP reserves the right to refuse drugs of dependence for any reason.
This policy is adapted from RACGP practice policy ‘Prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice, Part A’, for more information click here
Home visits are available (to regular patients of EMC) within our local area in cases of need such as emergencies where the patient can not get in, isolation or palliative care. Less urgent home visits can be better fitted into a doctor’s schedule if arranged one or two days in advance. Such visits may not be bulk billed but this is at the discretion of the GP.
Our doctors are always keen to have feedback on services offered. They appreciate your comments, and always take them seriously and in good faith. From time to time, we carry out surveys to assess how well your needs are filled. The Health Services Commission (ph 03 8601 5200) are at your service if you do not feel your concern has been adequately or answered by us. Brochures from Health Services Commission are available at reception.