My GP recently gave me a referral to an ACT specialist. The specialist’s receptionist refused to give me an appointment. She stated that I must have private hospital cover in order to see any of the specialists at this clinic. Confused, I questioned why I would need private hospital cover just for a consultation, when there is no reason to think I would need a hospital admission. In addition, if I did need a hospital admission or something that wasn’t covered by medicare, I do have sufficient funds to at least consider the cost of paying privately.
The receptionist wouldn’t budge. I now have to go back to my GP to try to get another referral. Leaving messages for my GP has resulted in no reply, so I will no doubt end up having to wait for and pay for another GP consult simply to get another referral due to the first referral being refused.
What is up with this? Why are specialists insisting on private hospital cover even when the referral doesn’t indicate a need for surgery/hospital admission?
I do have private health cover, but it is one of those useless policies that can’t be used for anything. The thought that I will have to pay for top notch private hospital cover just to get a consult with a specialist is frustrating and scary (how will poor people be able to see a specialist at all?)
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This isn’t the first time I’ve had a receptionist deny me access to a specialist, am I just unlucky? How many others have paid GPs for referrals they can’t use? Why aren’t specialists communicating their requirements to GPs to minimise the cost, delays and frustration for patients?