FAQs

Appointment FAQ's

Q: I booked an appointment to get a few things addressed, including a new Mental health care plan. My doctor asked me to rebook another appointment time, for the mental healthcare plan as this couldn’t all be dealt with in a 15min appointment. Why?
A:
There are several factors here. The main one is to ensure that the Doctor is able to adequately and thoroughly address all your health care concerns in the allocated time. A standard 15 minute appointment is usually for one area of concern, sometimes two if it includes a routine script renewal. A Mental Health Care plan alone requires a 30 minutes appointment. 15 Minutes is not adequate time to address all those needs. Secondly, to avoid the Doctor’s running late.  Our Doctor’s respect our patient’s time, and try to run on time. We request that you reciprocate and respect our Doctor’s time, by booking the adequate appointment length and respect our Doctor’s if they ask you to re-book another appointment.

Q: My doctor has asked me to rebook another appointment to address all the areas of concern I have, should I expect to pay for that?
A: Yes.

Q: If my doctor has asked me to re-book an appointment to address all my health concerns, why should I have to pay?
A: We are a fee for service clinic. Our Doctors deserve to be paid for the services they are providing to you. They do not get funded any other way.

Q: I need an appointment today with my GP, can you squeeze me in?
A: Our doctors run by an appointment system that allows them to allocate a certain amount of time to each patient.  If your doctor does not have an available appointment time, we cannot book you in. We will offer the next available appointment with your preferred doctor, or the next available appointment with any available Doctor.

Q: Will I Receive a reminder for my appointment?
A: Northside Clinic maintains a confidential database for reminding and recalling patients for follow up treatments, immunisations, cervical screening tests, and other preventable healthcare issues. Patients who do not wish to be included on the database should advise their doctor. Whilst we make every effort to send reminder messages, it is still the responsibility of the patient to return for further visits if your doctor has indicated that this is necessary. Registered patients of the clinic will receive SMS reminders of their appointments. This is sent out the day before the appointment. Please respond to the message to indicate your confirmation of attendance. Unconfirmed appointments may be cancelled. If you do not wish to receive reminder SMS messages for appointments, please advise the reception staff.

Q: I have an urgent situation that requires immediate medical care, why can’t you squeeze me in?
A: Northside Clinic in not equipped for medical emergencies. We are a General Practice. If you require urgent medical care, our staff are trained and will triage you to determine the best course of action.  If they suggest you need to attend your nearest emergency department or call 000, then please follow their direction. A nurse may also provide this advice. Please do not delay your care by insisting you attend Northside Clinic for medical emergencies.

Q: I need to see a Doctor today and cannot get an appointment at Northside Clinic but it’s not a medical emergency, what should I do?
A: You are able to attend a Priority Primary Care Centre, please review the information on PPCC’s here.

Q: I walked into the clinic requesting to be seen, but I couldn’t see a Doctor for a few days, why couldn’t I be seen on the day?
A: Our doctors run by an appointment system that allows them to allocate a certain amount of time to each patient. If your doctor does not have an available appointment time, we cannot book you in. We will offer the next available appointment with your preferred doctor, or the next available appointment with any available Doctor.

Q: I just need to speak with my GP about something, but I’m being told I need an appointment, why is that?
A: Our doctors run by an appointment system. If you wish to speak with a GP you need to book an appointment. Our Doctors only work certain session times and are only available when they are here for a session.

Q: If I have an appointment booked at a certain time, why do I sometimes need to wait to be seen?
A: It is an unfortunate reality of appointment-based systems that Doctors can sometimes run behind. They prefer not to and do what they can to remain on time. There are occasions when patients present for a standard 15 minute appointment and require more time with the Doctor than what had been scheduled. Some patients may need continuous monitoring, or extension of time with the Doctor if deemed necessary and is in the best interest of the patient at that time. These situations are not something that the clinic or Doctors are able to plan for and require management on the day which may influence the time you get seen.

Q: Do I Need an Appointment with the Doctor for my Child’s Immunisation?
A: Yes. All immunizations require a prescription from a doctor. Once prescribed the practice nurse may administer.

Bulk Billing FAQ's

Q: Do you bulk bill?
A:
We bulk bill patients with a current Aged or Disability Pension card and Children of Health Care Card holders.
You will need to present a valid card at the time of your appointment and it will need to meet Concessional Entitlement checks with Service Australia.
We privately bill all other patients with a concessional rate available for Health Care Card Holders and other Pension cards including JobSeeker, Carer Payment, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payment.
Please be aware we do not bulk bill on Saturdays.

Q: I have always previously been bulk billed, why am I now being charged?
A:
NSC is and has always been a privately run clinic. We are not a community run clinic, as that would involve receiving Government funding. We are able to offer bulk billing to Aged Care Pension card holders, Disability Card Holders and children of HCC holders.  There are private fees applicable to all other patients.

Q: Why have you reduced the categories of patients who you bulk bill?
A: The Medicate rebate that the government set is inadequate to cover the true costs of running a private general practice. If you wish to support and rally for General Practice and provide feedback on how the Medicare rebate is affecting you and your access to healthcare, please provide your feedback to your local member of parliament. https://new.parliament.vic.gov.au/members/member-search/?page=1&pageSize=10&sortType=2

Q: I didn’t know I was going to be charged for my appointment, can I be bulk billed?
A: As part of you engaging services at Northside Clinic, it is your responsibility to ensure you are aware of any fees for services. Please ensure you consult our fees policy here so you are aware of your obligations of payment, prior to your appointments.

Q: My doctor has charged me a fee and I want that changed to bulk billing, can this be changed?
A: No. The doctors who consult at Northside Clinic are able to charge for their services as per the clinics fee policy. They select the billing at the conclusion of your appointment. Billing will not be changed after your consultation and any discussions regarding this need to be had with the individual Doctor at the time of your appointment, before billing is processed. You can access our fees policy on our website here.

Telehealth FAQ's

Q: I have a telehealth appointment booked at a certain time, which is my lunch break at work. The doctor didn’t call me at the booked time, and I missed their call, what should I do?
A: Telehealth appointments are treated the same as in clinic appointments and sometimes the Doctor can run late.  If they are unable to call at the booked time, they will call you and you need to be available for that call, just as you would need to wait in the waiting room if you were attending in person. Please be mindful of this when booking your telehealth appointments during work times.

Q: If I miss a telehealth appointment, will I be charged a fee?
A: Yes. Telehealth appointments are treated the same as in clinic appointments. If you do not answer the Doctor’s call, it will be treated as a missed appointment with a missed appointment fee. Our Doctor’s usually try to call you several times before moving on to the next booked patient.

Q: I missed my telehealth/telephone appointment, why can’t the Doctor just call me later in the day?
A: Telehealth appointments are treated the same as in clinic appointments. If you do not answer the calls from the clinic, they will move on to their next booked patient.  They will have other patients booked for the remainder of their session time and are not always able to call you back outside of their session times.

Returning Patients

In line with the RACGP accreditation standards, we inactivate patients who have not visited the clinic for 3 years. You are welcome to return to the clinic, however you will be processed as a new patient so there may be a wait for your appointment.

Reference RACGP Criterion C7.1 Content of patient health records

https://www.racgp.org.au/running-a-practice/practice-standards/standards-5th-edition/standards-for-general-practices-5th-ed/core-standards/core-standard-7/criterion-c7-1-content-of-patient-health-records

Doctors Requests

If you require a repeat prescription, a referral to a specialist or pathology test results please let our reception team know.

Doctors providing prescriptions, referrals to specialists or pathology test results are responsible ethically and legally to ensure these are correct and warranted. Therefore, a consultation with a doctor may be necessary.

Referrals

Referrals for treatment by specialists may incur additional charges. Referrals may incur an administrative fee when posted or picked up at reception.

Q: Do I need a referral to see a psychologist?
A: If you would like to access Medicare rebates for psychological services you will need a referral from a GP. You can also see a psychologist without a referral, as a private patient.

Repeat Prescriptions

Replacement scripts may incur an administrative fee when posted or picked up at reception.

Medical Information

If you require a copy of medical information from your GP, please be aware that it can take up to 3 working days for the doctor to complete your request. Charges may apply.

After Hours Healthcare

Access to After Hours Healthcare

In an emergency situation please contact 000 and request assistance or the nearest hospital is St Vincent’s Hospital. The Emergency Department can be contacted on 9288 4360. The Emergency Department is located at 41 Victoria Pde, Fitzroy 3065.

Locum Service

‘National Home Doctor Service’ can be contacted on 13 7425 for any out of hours medical services.

Weeknights from 6:00pm to 8:00am.

Weekends from 12 noon Saturday, all day Sunday and Public Holidays.

Please discuss fees and payment options when booking services as they may differ from Northside Clinic fees.

For more information visit, https://homedoctor.com.au/.

Home Visits

Home visits are available by prior arrangement for regular patients who reside in close proximity, and whose condition prevents them from attending the clinic. Our reception staff can provide you with further information regarding fees, billing and home visit services.

Are you taking new patients?

Please note, we have new patient categories explained below. If you wish to become a patient of the clinic, please speak to our friendly staff who will be able to advise you of our current appointment availability.

Category A: Prompt appointments as soon as possible are made for:

  • People Living With HIV and/or Hepatitis B who have recently moved to Victoria or do not currently have a doctor managing their HIV.
  • People in need of HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) or requiring acute STI management.
  • Children (under the age of 18) of existing patients.

Category B: Next available new patient appointments are made for:

  • Members of the LGBTIQA+ community.
  • People requiring sexual health care, or those with a referral from another doctor.
  • Partners of existing patients.
  • People with a residential address in North Fitzroy.

If you fit any of the criteria above, please contact our reception team who will confirm your eligibility category and advise on appointment availability. Please note that unfortunately, it is not always possible to offer new patient appointments for people in Category B, due to high demand and limited clinic capacity.

Transferring Patient Information

Transferring your Northside Clinic patient records to another clinic

Your new clinic will have a request form that you need to sign and they will send it to us to action. We send a free health summary within 3-4 business days of receiving the request. There is a small administrative fee of $35 to transfer your full patient record. We will send you an invoice to pay this and then we will action the transfer of your full health record within 3-5 business days of receiving this payment. You can remain a patient at Northside Clinic, as we understand that sometimes having more than one clinic that you attend enables you better access to healthcare. We will ask this question during the transfer process.

Transferring your patient records from another clinic to Northside Clinic

We have a request form that you need to complete, please ask for one at reception. We will send the request form to your old clinic to action. Please be aware that there may be a charge for the transfer your file and you will need to enquire with your old clinic regarding the cost.

"Inactive" Patient and Unpaid Account FAQ's

Q. I was made inactive as a patient because I hadn’t attended the clinic for 3 years, but I wasn’t told that this had happened, why don’t you inform us when this happens?
A. Most of the time when a patient has been made inactive due to them not having been seen at the clinic for 3 years, they have moved to another clinic and not informed us.  On the occasion that you do want to continue attending the clinic, we welcome that and you just need to contact the clinic to arrange this.  Please be aware that there may be a wait for an appointment as you will be treated as a new patient to the clinic.

Q. I was made inactive due to an unpaid account, but I never received notification about this
A. We have a robust system in place to recover unpaid patient accounts.  You would have been sent invoices via email and sms asking you to contact the clinic to make payment for your outstanding account.  Unfortunately, due to previous experiences during COVID of patients avoiding our contact to please settle their accounts, we are no longer able to carry the debt of unpaid patient accounts.  We respectfully request that you pay for services you receive on the day of your appointment, to avoid being un able to make appointments or not able to attend the clinc.

Late to Appointment, Cancellations, and No Show FAQ's

Q: Do you have a cancellation policy?
A: Yes, You can cancel your appointment with the GP without any charge up to 2 hours before your appointment time.
Late cancellation within 2 hours of the appointment time may incur a fee, as it is unlikely that we can fill that appointment space.
Failure to attend your appointment may also incur a fee.
Please note appointment cancellations with psychologists require 24 hours notice to avoid incurring a fee.

Q: I missed my appointment and received a fee, why?
A: All missed appointment without prior notification will incur a missed appointment fee.

Q: I called to cancel my appointment and received a late cancellation fee, why?
A: We require a minimum of 2hours noticed to cancel appointments without a fee.

Q: I replied yes to my appointment reminder, then changed my mind and replied No. I received a DNA fee, why when I notified you of my cancellation?
A: The appointment reminder is a software program that only takes the first response.  If you reply YES your appointment will be confirmed.  If you change your mind, you need to call the clinic.

Q: I called to tell you I was going to be late and when I arrived, I couldn’t see my Doctor, why?
A: Our doctors run by an appointment system that allows them to allocate a certain amount of time to each patient.  If you miss your appointment time, you have missed your appointment and will need to reschedule.  You will also receive a missed appointment fee.

Medical Records & Privacy Policy

Our Privacy Policy is to provide information to you, on how your personal information (which includes your health information) is collected and used within Northside Clinic, and the circumstances in which we may share it with third parties.

Medical Records 

Records will be kept of your visits and treatment. Your medical record is a confidential document. The contents will be divulged only with your consent or where justified by law. You are entitled to see or correct your patient records at any stage. We comply with the Privacy Act 2000 and the Health Records Act 2001 including the way we store, use and disclose health information.

Patient Code of Conduct/Zero Tolerance Policy

We request all patients and visitors help us make our Practice a safe place for everyone by agreeing to the following standards.

Northside Clinic has a Zero Tolerance Policy to ensure all staff are treated with dignity and respect. This means that aggressive, threatening or violent behaviour towards our staff will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Anyone verbally abusing members of our staff, either in person or over the telephone, will be advised that this behaviour will not be tolerated. Violations of this policy may result in our refusing to conduct business in person or via the telephone with the offender and only transacting with the offender in writing. Any instances of written abuse will be handled with the same level of severity. All abusive correspondence received by the clinic will be retained for reference should the matter persist and need to be referred to the police. Instances of abuse may result in you being asked to move your health records to another clinic. We understand that people accessing any health care may be under stress, however that does not give anyone the right to act aggressively to staff in health care settings including our clinic.

Patient Feedback/Complaints

We conduct regular, confidential patient surveys regarding service provision at Northside Clinic. We value patient feedback and use the information provided to enhance our services and meet your expectations.

Patients have the right to voice their opinions without prejudice. If you have a complaint or would like to provide feedback, please fill out the form below. Your feedback help us to maintain our services and make improvements when possible.

If you are not happy with our response to your concerns you may contact the Health Complaints Commissioner, on 1300 582 113 between 9:30am and 3:00pm, Monday to Friday.