The best doctors in Canberra

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Read our list of the best doctors in Canberra. Photo: File.

This has been updated in January 2021.

Your general practitioner is more than your mere doctor. They understand the nuances of your medical history, your lifestyle, and your treatment preferences. Over time, this intimate knowledge can make a significant difference to your health.

As well as diagnosing any niggles or sniffles, a great doctor moves you through the continuum of life. They uncover concerns you had not yet noticed and draw attention to those that require more focus. Should the need for a specialised opinion be required, they test and assess then refer to the best.

Great doctors are true professional companions. They ride your highs and your lows, doing whatever they can do improve your wellbeing and prepare you for the road ahead. Anyone who has found their medical match will tell you that it is worth their weight in gold.

But with so many wonderful doctors calling Canberra home, finding the right one for you can be challenging. Limited availability, inconvenient opening hours, and long waiting times may see you flip flop from one GP to the next. Moreover, lack lustre or rushed appointments can leave you feeling like nothing more than a number.

Whether your needs are preventative, routine, or management of a chronic condition, finding a doctor you can trust is a must. The good news is that we have rounded up the best doctors that our region has to offer. Read on below.

What makes a great doctor?

Great doctors are health and wellbeing crusaders armed with years of formal education and extensive experience. The best general practitioners offer more than a string of fancy titles. They are compassionate, professional, and all about providing the highest quality of care. Here are some things to keep in mind when evaluating your next doctor in Canberra:

  • Qualified & Accredited. At a minimum, your doctor’s medical degree, internship, and registration with the Medical board of Australia should stand. Beyond all necessary base qualifications look for a doctor who has completed a fellowship. A fellowship is a period of specialised vocational training as a general practitioner. In Australia, fellowships are completed at the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) or Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM). Some doctors will have completed one or more fellowships during their time, positioning them amongst the most qualified in their field.
  • Recommended & Reputable. Finding a reputable doctor can be as easy as asking around. Word of mouth referrals from family or friends, along with other health care providers is a good place to start. Equally, patient reviews online or on medical search websites such as the Federal Governments Health Direct can be helpful too.
  • Quality Care. The best doctors fly the quality care ethos flag with pride. They understand that thoroughness is an investment in their patient’s wellbeing. They are exemplary communicators, wonderful listeners, and question with insight. Quality care means thorough appointments, consistency each – and every time, along with comprehensive planning and follow up. As far as your health is concerned, this should be the number one priority for your doctor.
  • Holistic Practice. Great general practitioners can often be found in the company of other care providers. Some practices may offer allied health services such as physiotherapy, counselling, pathology and more. Moreover, specialist services such as paediatrics may also be offered. Finally, the best doctors will be a stone throw away from a well-stocked pharmacy adding to convenience at the time of need.
  • Convenient & Available. A final minor, yet important factor is your doctor’s location and availability. Considerations such as travel time, opening hours, and location all should be considered. Moreover, availability for your doctor of choice and short waiting times all help when needed. Finally, consider what after-hours or home care is available, along with any recommended services should these be outsourced.

The best doctors in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Ochre Medical Centre, Garran

Orche Medical Centre Garran is home to a large, diverse team of experienced and highly qualified general practitioners. As a member of nationally based Orche Heath, the practice benefits from the network of forty plus medical centres spanning five states.

Their cornerstone ethos centres on an evidence-based approach, from skin rashes to stomach bugs this team of over twenty doctors are here to help.

Located near Canberra and the National Canberra Hospitals, the centre operates six days a week with inhouse allied health services, a radiology and chemist.

Geoff Ding shared his experience with the practice on Google, This is a fantastic family general practice. Always strive to find an appointment spot for patients. Great knowledge and communication.”

Kingston Foreshore Medical Centre, Kingston

Recently established in 2019, Kingston Foreshore Medical Centre have built a reputation on their high calibre general practitioners who pride themselves in delivering quality patient care.

Offering a full suite of services from general consultations, chronic disease, and mental health, to skin checks and more; their team of experienced doctors are well equipped to cater to your health needs under the one roof.

Situated on the beautiful Kingston foreshore, they are closely surrounded by complimentary medical services including a pharmacy, medical imaging, and pathology.

Sheldon Satherley had this to say about the centre on Google, “I’ve been living in the ACT for 7 years, and this is the first doctors practice I’ve actually liked. They’re very professional and friendly, and they actually see you at the time of your appointment, not after 45 minutes of sitting in the waiting room. Highly recommend.”

Watson Medical Practice, Watson

Located in Canberra’s inner north, Watson Medical Practice is a boutique private centre home to six general practitioners and a nurse. Their focus is the delivery of the highest quality patient care underpinned by values of respect, empathy, forthrightness, and thoroughness.

Offering an array of services from general consultations, women’s, men’s and family health, chronic disease management and more, this team of personable doctors have built a reputation on professional and compassionate care.

 Mark Lusty shared this glowing review on Google, Best General Practice in Canberra - by a country mile. WGP are always happy to do that little bit extra which sets them apart from the others.”

Palmerston Medical Centre

Dr Michael Gan, Dr Sandy Vitikos and Dr Prad Southi at Palmerston Medical Centre’s come highly rated from readers.

Dr Southi, for example, is “phenomenal with kids,” as well as “patient, attentive and not afraid to admit that his previous suspicions were wrong.”

Dr Vitikos is “super friendly” while Dr Gan has “a lot of certificates on his wall” thanks to his extensive experience and study.

Palmerston Medical Centre is open Monday to Saturday.

Your GP Crace, Crace

Recently awarded the NSW and ACT General Practice of the year 2020 by They Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Your GP Crace is held in high esteem by professional peers and patients alike.

Boasting a strong contingent of doctors, nurses, allied health, and administrative staff, Your GP Crace strive to make their patients feel welcome. Their practice vision is embedded in the provision of genuine care and clinical excellence, with each general practitioner nurturing long term, whole of family relationships.

Home to a pharmacy, pathology, psychologist, and optometrist Your GP Crace can comfortably handle men’s health to mental health – and everything in between.

Maureen Lawrentin shared her experience with the team on Google, As always, our visit was a pleasant experience with dedicated doctors and nurses at this practice.”

If you’re looking for more information on general medical services in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best bulk billing doctors and the best home doctors Canberra has to offer.

For related health services perhaps our articles on the best dentists, the best hearing centres and audiologists, and the best psychologists in Canberra may also be of interest.

Your experience with doctors in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the doctors listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a General Practitioner?

A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who has completed training in general practice. Their broad knowledge base and skill set enables them to treat a wide range of patients from infants to the elderly. General practitioners coordinate and manage your healthcare needs as you progress through life.

What can your doctor do for you?

Your doctor is generally the first medical contact for any conditions. They provide care specific to your individual needs and may refer to specialists if required. You can see your doctor for health advice, when you are unwell, for minor injuries, health screening, vaccinations, prescriptions, certified documents, care for children and during pregnancy, and for ongoing care.

Where can you find a doctor?

Practicing doctors can be found at a range of locations including private medical practices, family practices, medical centres, in some hospitals, via home visit, over the phone and online.

What does it cost to see a doctor?

In Canberra, and indeed Australia, visits to your doctor or GP may be fully or partially covered by Medicare providing you have a Medicare number. For doctors in which fees are partially covered, the difference or ‘gap’ must be paid by the patient. Always check on the cost of consultations before your visit.

What can doctors see on my health record?

Doctors are privy to details of medical conditions, treatments, medicines, and test or scan results. Specialists and hospital staff may also be able to review these records as required or in the case of accident or emergency. If in doubt, please consult your doctor.

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Can Riot Act please add a date to articles?

Dr Vishal Arya at Queanbeyan GP Super Clinic is our family GP. He is fantastic and very efficient. Highly recommended.

bluestocking10:55 am 25 Feb 21

Not at all our experience as a family. Sorry – no caring or personal approach and irrelevant and inappropriate advice given to us on occasion.

Lawrence Schulz12:26 am 26 May 21

Agree as I had similar issues.
Refused to follow up on the advice I was given by both the urology clinic & the pain clinic but insisted on prescribing a med I was very concerned could have a detrimental effect on my preexisting condition.

We go to the Marketplace Medical Practice in Gunghalin and have found a very caring and knowledgeable practice after recently moving to Canberra from interstate. As we are seniors with a few health issues Dr. Fowosere has been very helpful and insightful with their management.

Porcupinetree4:35 pm 12 Jan 17

We are very happy with Dr Kathleen Calder, our family GP who we have been seeing for several years. She recently move to the Lonsdale Street Medical Practice in Braddon –

I find Dr Calder is thorough and is never in a hurry to get you out the door. She has a genuine interest and and commitment to her patients which is comforting.

As she works with other like-minded Doctors as we can always see someone else at short notice for urgent attention. Thoroughly recommended.

I really like the Co-Op, but you do have to find a Doctor you like. We’ve been known to follow Doctors around to different clinic locations. We particularly like the new Higgins clinic and the 2 Doctors that are there.

Dr Laeq at Florey is pretty good. Been seeing her for a number of years now. Non bulk billing.

Dr Antoinette takes new patients and works between Bruce and Casey at Ochre Health. I see her for an ongoing issue and she’s very good.

Ochre health are (like most places in Canberra) a private practice so $80 a visit and then you get the rebate. The pharmacy at Bruce are also very good.

MonarchRepublic10:55 am 02 Nov 16

100% recommend Dr Phil Aubin at Orthopaedics ACT. My mother recently got a hip replacement, and was very happy with Dr Phil.

SidneyReilly2:17 pm 03 Jan 16

Jill Browne at the GP superclinic at Queanbeyan is very good even for us elderly males.

Jo Crookes at Phillip medical & Dental is just brilliant, but good luck getting in to see her.
I followed her to this centre because she was terrific & had seen me through some pretty rough times. But this medical centre is the pits. It’s “cattle class” all the way – no appointments till just recently, so I have waited 4-5 hours to get to see her. Now that one can make appointments, it’s only a couple of days ahead, and no matter what your circumstances, appointments do not get bulk billled – those who can pay, those who can’t wait . . and wait . . .and wait . .
A direction in which I for one, do not appreciate Australian medical services going.
But that’s the company, not the doctor. She’s great and doing the best possible under the circumstances.

She is a good doctor but not reliable, she does not stay with one clinic for long (unstable) and can call in sick and not available last minute. When you are very sick or need to see her urgently bad luck!

Dr Ruchi Jyoti at the Yarralumla Surgery.

Holden Caulfield10:47 am 12 Dec 15

Garema Place Surgery.

Argonaut said :

I can highly recommend Doctor Melissa Bessell at the ANU Health Service. They take patients from off-campus, so you don’t have to be a student or staff member. http://health.anu.edu.au/

If money is no object, you could try Doctor Jacquie Lowe at Ainslie Family Practice. She always runs late, but that’s because she does take the time to explain things to patients.

Best of luck!

No, this is wrong. ANU health does not accept outsiders.

at the ANU Health Service. They take patients from off-campus, so you don’t have to be a student or staff member. http://health.anu.edu.au//quote%5D

This is wrong. You need to be affiliated in some way with ANU. They won’t accept outsiders.

I can highly recommend Doctor Melissa Bessell at the ANU Health Service. They take patients from off-campus, so you don’t have to be a student or staff member. http://health.anu.edu.au/

If money is no object, you could try Doctor Jacquie Lowe at Ainslie Family Practice. She always runs late, but that’s because she does take the time to explain things to patients.

Best of luck!

If Civic is handy to you, I would recommend Dr Suzanne Begbie at Garema Place Surgery. She has been extremely helpful with my own illness.

I’ve seen a number of GP’s at Waramanga medical centre who I have liked. Only one there who I just found too weird and patronising (a male).

Give Contact Canberra http://www.contactcanberra.org.au/ a call. They should be able to tell you what support groups are around. Or SHOUT http://www.shout.org.au/ might be able to suggest some as well.

Fisher Family Practice is very good. Plenty of doctors there, and not too difficult to get appointments most of the time. I’ve been really happy with the clinical advice and chronic disease management strategies from the four or so doctors I’ve seen there.

Your GP@Lyneham are absolutely fantastic. Every GP I’ve seen there is fantastic and really take time out to talk to you about treatments and they also let you know of updates to medication and support services.

Re a GP recommendation, what part of Canberra were you looking in ACTgirl35? and did you need a bulk billing practice or happy to pay? As for support groups – contact Carers ACT, they should be able to help you. ACT Health also runs regular courses for those living with a long term condition where you may meet people in a similar situation to you. http://health.act.gov.au/health-services/community-based-health-services/chronic-illness/

Has any one else had any experience with Dr Janine Kelly at either Giralang or Watson medical centres or Dr Felicity Donaghy at Garema?

Dr Felicity Donaghy at Garema Place Surgery is tops. Actually all of the GPs there are terrific. Highly recommended: http://garemaplacesurgery.com.au/

gentoopenguin said :

Dr Philip Toua at Watson Medical Centre is really lovely. I know he’s not a female doctor but he helped me with post-natal stuff and couldn’t have been more caring or attentive.

There’s also a female doctor there, Dr Kelly I think. Haven’t been to her though so can’t say either way. They bulk bill.

That would be Dr Janine Kelly. Dr Toua and Dr Kelly are both at Giralang Medical Centre also, so I assume they work part time between Watson and Giralang. They are both very good. It appears to be slightly cheaper to see them at Giralang if you look at the Billing policies on both Centre websites 😉

gungsuperstar1:00 am 23 Apr 13

If you’re happy with 35 bucks, I recommend Palmerston Medical Centre. The receptionists are friendly, which is a bonus. Dr Southi is a dude, but he’s done a lot of work in pediatrics, and is apparently phenomenal with kids. I’m a regular patient of Prad cos of an ongoing issue – he’s patient, he’s attentive, and he’s not at all afraid to admit that his previous suspicions were wrong, and that we need to try something else. Dr Gan is also a guy, and he has a lot of certificates on his wall. Don’t quote me on it – but I was told by someone who should know that he’s a migrant who was a surgeon in his own country, but “settled” for general practice upon moving here. Dr Sandy (Vitikos, I think) – I haven’t seen her before, but I’ve spoken to her and she’s super friendly. If the other 2 doctors are anything to go by, I wouldn’t have a problem recommending her.

You’ll need 70 bucks in your bank account to go for the full fee – but they’ll process the Medicare rebate in-house, saving the trip (and the friggen line) at Medicare. So you end up paying about 36 bucks.

I just moved to Canberra in the past month (finally), and because of a few existing issues, I decided to go hunting for a new doctor. I had a lot of hit and miss with bulk billing doctors, who all seem to be keen on giving you pills and sending you on your way.

I decided to go back to a normal pay as you go doctor, and chose Gungahlin General Practice – http://www.gungahlingp.com/ as it’s close to work. They booked me with Dr Thien La. He’s really easy going and friendly and ready to listen and provides easy to understand information on your problems, and able to provide several suggestions for treatment.

He is the first male doctor I have seen where I felt able to talk to him without any apprehension as those I have seen in the past seem to have a bit of a “she’ll be right” attitude.

The consult was $75, but you get about half back from Medicare, and for me, NIB will pay the rest.

He wants me to come back to monitor my condition in a month, and I will be honest, I am looking forward to the consult. I feel as though I have some control again after living with crap doctors in the previous city I lived in for almost 2 years. He also wants to work on a plan to get me off some of the meds I take, which is something I keen to not have to rely on, long term.

Dr Nambiar in the Australian Swimming building across from the Belconnen Mall is outstanding. A standard consultation with her will also cost about $35 after the Medicare rebate which they can process at the time of consultation.
I have been seeing Dr Nambiar for about 6 years now and she has always been extraordinarily thorough and very well informed on just about any topic! I couldn’t recommend her highly enough!

Dr Thew at Ginninderra Medical Centre is awesome… She’s next to impossible to get in to see. Actually not even sure she’s still there.

Also the West Belconnen coop have amazing doctors, they usually come over from England for 12 months so don’t expect to be able to constantly see the same one. Pretty sure the yearly fee is only about $30. Doesn’t matter how many times you go or what tests you need. That’s all you pay for the whole year.

shirty_bear said :

My experience of bulk-billing GPs is that all they’re really good at is writing out doctor’s certificates; if you go to one and you don’t already know what’s wrong with you, you’re in trouble.

Ranji Pereira in Gungahlin is terrific. She’s invariably booked out a week in advance, will be running any number of hours late by the end of the day, and will lighten your pocket by $35-odd. Worth every cent.

Thanks, I didn’t realise that a doctors appointment could only be $35 🙂 I would be happy to pay that for a good doctor.

My experience of bulk-billing GPs is that all they’re really good at is writing out doctor’s certificates; if you go to one and you don’t already know what’s wrong with you, you’re in trouble.

Ranji Pereira in Gungahlin is terrific. She’s invariably booked out a week in advance, will be running any number of hours late by the end of the day, and will lighten your pocket by $35-odd. Worth every cent.

gentoopenguin9:27 pm 21 Apr 13

Dr Philip Toua at Watson Medical Centre is really lovely. I know he’s not a female doctor but he helped me with post-natal stuff and couldn’t have been more caring or attentive.

There’s also a female doctor there, Dr Kelly I think. Haven’t been to her though so can’t say either way. They bulk bill.

Thanks for the input. Im really just after a more professional doctor who may be able to provide some insight or referral if they are unable to help.

remains said :

it might help if you tell what the test results/condition are as some doctors may know what it is and some may not

Some doctors may indeed know but the rest of us don’t need to…

it might help if you tell what the test results/condition are as some doctors may know what it is and some may not

Watson said :

There’s a doctor at the Florey practice whose name I always forget (and he is not on the website) but the couple of times I have seen him he has been excellent. Anglo guy, mid 50s, with a beard. I was shocked when he actually examined me the first time I saw him. Couldn’t remember the last time a doctor had taken the time to examine me. And he had some really useful info and suggestions and took the time to answer my questions and brainstorm possible causes of pretty uncommon symptoms. And then referred me for some tests which I never had done because I am the worst patient in the world.

Though if I just need a note for work because of a common cold or similar, it always brightens my morning to get told I have an appointment with Dr Hu there.

I think you’re describing Dr Berenson. He’s an amazing doctor but only locums at Florey. He was my family doctor for about 15 years before be decided to retire. I was excited to find out he’s sporadically at Florey. He’s very old school and always thoroughly examines you. Loves to chat and most of the time doesn’t even need to look up your medical records as he knows them off by heart for his regulars.

There’s a doctor at the Florey practice whose name I always forget (and he is not on the website) but the couple of times I have seen him he has been excellent. Anglo guy, mid 50s, with a beard. I was shocked when he actually examined me the first time I saw him. Couldn’t remember the last time a doctor had taken the time to examine me. And he had some really useful info and suggestions and took the time to answer my questions and brainstorm possible causes of pretty uncommon symptoms. And then referred me for some tests which I never had done because I am the worst patient in the world.

Though if I just need a note for work because of a common cold or similar, it always brightens my morning to get told I have an appointment with Dr Hu there.

YourGP at Lyneham, both Doctor Deerys are great.

You don’t want a Northside doctor in Sydney then?

Dr. Ana Reodica at the Gungahlin Medical Centre is excellent – very caring and very thorough, and great with the follow up phone calls. Even staff at the blood testing places rave about her.

I use Dr Abeya at North Canberra Family Practice. I cannot recommend her highly enough. She sometimes runs late but it is worth it.

She seems to be up to date, listens to me, actually cares and when I became sick with an illness with vague symptoms that could have been almost anything, she kept looking and pushing specialists until a solution was found, rather than just trying to fob it off as nothing or being in my mind. She is also very proactive in following up and in arranging for specialists and other treatments where required (and in getting me seen by a specialist quickly rather than the 6 month wait by calling up herself and insisting that it was urgent).

BTW, I am not employed by them or anything, I just think she is the best doctor I have ever had.

I used to go to go to the Ainslie practice at the shops, but they’re impossible to get into unless you can predict your illness 7 days out, their administrative were occasionally abrupt and I got sick of waiting over an hour (sometimes close to two) for my scheduled appointments to finally be called. I now go to Florey (even though I live in Dickson); they have a walk in facility, pathology collection and an excellent female doctor. Follow up appointments are also bulk billed (though this is probably doctor specific, rather than an official policy of the centre).

MrForthright9:42 pm 15 Aug 12

Watson is being unfairly criticised. The so-called trained professionals someone referred to are not always very professional. Ever been prescribed a medication that doesn’t work? So you go back and say that, and the response is “take another course” or “double the dose and keep going”. Pure laziness. Eventually you are so sick they ask the question “have you ever had this before?”. “Yes”. Oh. How many times have I been mis-diagnosed? Several. And do they ever ask if you have ever had scans or x-rays or particular tests and could they see the relevant results. No. And my Dad was in the Pharmaceutical industry for 50 years. He said doctors have shares in pharmaceutical companies. Hence the over-prescribing which costs the nation a bomb and also has the desirable effect of getting you out of the consulting room quickly.

There is a paediatric specialist who comes down from Goulburn once a week, Dr Ros Davis at Majura Clinic at Dickson. She also is a GP. She is on the dual disability team in Goulburn. My daughter has multiple disabilities and I find her very good. She is very practical and down to earth. She does refer patients to other specialists.

I’ve also had a lot of trouble finding a good Dr, even changed to a Dr on a friend’s recommendation but that particular Dr didn’t live up to the recommendation.

I say good on you for persisting to find a Dr who will get you the help you need.

Last year I was seriously ill and I had a gut feeling it was one particular illness but despite repeated trips to the Dr my symptoms were dismissed as something minor. I got sicker and sicker but the Dr wouldn’t listen. Eventually, to humour me, the Dr suggested some over the counter medication that did nothing for the problem. I cannot describe how sick I was. I could barely function (ie, could barely stand or walk and breathing was becoming difficult) and I would go days without being able to eat, I was losing weight like you wouldn’t believe. I went to see another Dr and was dismissed again. Still losing weight and still so incredibly sick I went to another Dr who reluctantly gave me a script for something a bit stronger than the over the counter stuff but that didn’t do much. Finally I found a Dr that listened to me and ran some tests and that Dr arranged for me to get into a specialist urgently – ie within days of my visit. The specialist saw me and knew exactly what the problem was, which is what I felt sure it was, and was put on the right medication. Finally I was able to function again and could return to work at last.

I went through months of hell and if I hadn’t ‘shopped around’ for the right Dr I don’t know how much longer my body would have taken it.

emj said :

I was interested in this post as I too am trying to find a good doctor and am finding it quite difficult. My heart goes out to you Watson, and good luck in searching for answers.
It amazes me how many people judge others so easily without knowing the circumstances and are more interested in their own opinions despite being asked to respect your emotional state at this difficult time. Take comfort in that many people haven’t read your intial post properly – they are quick to say that you are self diagnosing when it is obvious it is the opposite and that you are simply trying to see a specialist who is prepared to do the research and you trust will look after your daughter. You have taken responsibility for your daughters health and I applaude you.
Good luck.

Thanks. I have indeed not made a diagnosis at all. It is the journey to get to an evidence based diagnosis which is proving to be difficult and frustrating and in the mean time I feel like a crap parent for letting my child suffer from the symptoms she is experiencing. Which obviously aren’t life threatening but are affecting her day to day life significantly.

I can give you a list of doctors you should avoid? 😉 Or a list of doctors that are perfect if you really only want a prescription or a note for work.

I was interested in this post as I too am trying to find a good doctor and am finding it quite difficult. My heart goes out to you Watson, and good luck in searching for answers.
It amazes me how many people judge others so easily without knowing the circumstances and are more interested in their own opinions despite being asked to respect your emotional state at this difficult time. Take comfort in that many people haven’t read your intial post properly – they are quick to say that you are self diagnosing when it is obvious it is the opposite and that you are simply trying to see a specialist who is prepared to do the research and you trust will look after your daughter. You have taken responsibility for your daughters health and I applaude you.
Good luck.

Watson said :

EvanJames said :

watson, the eye swollen up.. is that the actual eyeball? If so, and you probably know this, it could be the thryroid.

Sorry, I should’ve said that wasn’t a real life example. Was just a pretty poor attempt at demonstrating that you sometimes don’t need a doctor to know what specialist you need to see.
.

And that is a fine example of why you should not self diagnose.

The fact that you have fudged and fumbled around the diagnosis you have given your kid speaks volumes.

Poor kid, I hope you get an answer soon.

Q. What’s the difference between God and doctors?
A. God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.

EvanJames said :

watson, the eye swollen up.. is that the actual eyeball? If so, and you probably know this, it could be the thryroid.

Sorry, I should’ve said that wasn’t a real life example. Was just a pretty poor attempt at demonstrating that you sometimes don’t need a doctor to know what specialist you need to see.

And of course I did consult Dr Google, but I have no intention of trying to guess the diagnosis myself. I just want to see someone who has the skills to decide on the range of tests needed and can make one based on evidence.

watson, the eye swollen up.. is that the actual eyeball? If so, and you probably know this, it could be the thryroid.

blimkybill said :

Arthur McKenzie said :

Morton made an easy 70 bucks by the look of it. Taxpayer picks up the tab for parental anxiety. BTW how’s the kids eye going?

Those who dismiss Watson as an overly anxious parent have most likely never had to struggle with a chronic but undiagnosed or untreated medical issue, either affecting themself or their child. GPs do not know eveything and some conditions can be very difficult to diagnose. When faced with illness which impacts on your child’s wellbeing it is only right, in fact it’s a parent’s role, to not give up in the quest to understand and get approriate help.

Good on you Watson, and I hope the specialist you see is able to help your daughter.

Thanks. I expected those who make a sport of judging others to turn up because they always do on RA and I swore I would not let it get to me, but it’s hard not to get emotional about this stuff right now.

I got the advice I was after so I’ll just ignore this post now. Thanks again for those who answered my initial question. 🙂

Watson said :

Listen to the qualified professional who advises to do nothing or at most makes a half-arsed attempt to treat symptoms or listen to the qualified professional who advises to see a specialist in order to find out what the underlying causes of the symptoms may be? Hm, tough choice, isn’t it.

Youre confusing two issues here. Everyone believes you have the right to shop around for a doctor to find the best diagnosis and/or treatment for your daughter. What we are disagreeing with is the fact that youve chosen a diagnosis for your daughter, chosen a doctor to treat that diagnosis and youre now looking to find a GP who will refer you.

If the GP wishes to test your daughter, how is it different to a specialist ordering the test? You say you want a diagnosis of a problem, but you complain about not wanting to have to go through tests. If you have any previous tests, any doctor will use those results, even if you never complely finished the tests or whatever. Your initial questions and responses in this thread seem to indicate youve made a diagnosis (or someone else has, but not someone qualified to give a referral) and you dont want any low-level GP trying to second guess that opinion.

Watson said :

If your eye had been swollen up to the size of a tennis ball for over a year, would you be happy with the GP telling you it wasn’t necessary to see an eye specialist and advise you to put chamomile tea bags on it?

That’s not what happened, but it might as well have.

Hmm… I’m getting a whiff of self diagnosed food intolerance/allergy, with possibly some behavioural issues on the side.

“Eye the size of a tennis ball”? Of course, run of the mill stuff you don’t need a GP for that….

Arthur McKenzie said :

Morton made an easy 70 bucks by the look of it. Taxpayer picks up the tab for parental anxiety. BTW how’s the kids eye going?

Those who dismiss Watson as an overly anxious parent have most likely never had to struggle with a chronic but undiagnosed or untreated medical issue, either affecting themself or their child. GPs do not know eveything and some conditions can be very difficult to diagnose. When faced with illness which impacts on your child’s wellbeing it is only right, in fact it’s a parent’s role, to not give up in the quest to understand and get approriate help.

Good on you Watson, and I hope the specialist you see is able to help your daughter.

Arthur McKenzie12:14 pm 18 Sep 11

Morton made an easy 70 bucks by the look of it. Taxpayer picks up the tab for parental anxiety. BTW how’s the kids eye going?

If your eye had been swollen up to the size of a tennis ball for over a year, would you be happy with the GP telling you it wasn’t necessary to see an eye specialist and advise you to put chamomile tea bags on it?

That’s not what happened, but it might as well have.

dvaey said :

Watson said :

The doctor I saw yesterday wholeheartedly agreed with my suggestion to see this particular kind of specialist. I choose to trust her opinion over the opinion of the previous GP and that is my good right.

Hang on a second, so you ‘trust her opinion over the opinion of the previous GP’, because of what medical experience? The only reason you said you trust the opinion is because you say it agrees with your suggestion. If this doctor had 50 years experience dealing with the condition you thought your daughter had, and still didnt agree with you, would you keep shopping?

Ive been under the care of specialists for a medical condition since about the age of 2 or 3. I can tell you how important it is to NOT shop around doctors. You should keep ONE doctor, especially if you may have complex medical issues. The last thing you want, is different doctors having different test results or specialist letters. You dont just want a GP who agrees with you now, because what happens when they disagree with you next time, will you shop around again or listen to the qualified professional?

Listen to the qualified professional who advises to do nothing or at most makes a half-arsed attempt to treat symptoms or listen to the qualified professional who advises to see a specialist in order to find out what the underlying causes of the symptoms may be? Hm, tough choice, isn’t it.

If there weren’t so many quack doctors in Canberra, I wouldn’t have to shop around.

Watson said :

The doctor I saw yesterday wholeheartedly agreed with my suggestion to see this particular kind of specialist. I choose to trust her opinion over the opinion of the previous GP and that is my good right.

Hang on a second, so you ‘trust her opinion over the opinion of the previous GP’, because of what medical experience? The only reason you said you trust the opinion is because you say it agrees with your suggestion. If this doctor had 50 years experience dealing with the condition you thought your daughter had, and still didnt agree with you, would you keep shopping?

Ive been under the care of specialists for a medical condition since about the age of 2 or 3. I can tell you how important it is to NOT shop around doctors. You should keep ONE doctor, especially if you may have complex medical issues. The last thing you want, is different doctors having different test results or specialist letters. You dont just want a GP who agrees with you now, because what happens when they disagree with you next time, will you shop around again or listen to the qualified professional?

Watson said :

The doctor I saw yesterday wholeheartedly agreed with my suggestion to see this particular kind of specialist. I choose to trust her opinion over the opinion of the previous GP and that is my good right.

I knew there’d be someone eventually giving me a hard time about this and acting all holier than thou. But you are not walking in my shoes and you know SFA about my situation. So find another pass-time because I’m a tad close to the edge right now.

Maybe this GP is the one that doesn’t give a flying F and gave you the referral to get you out the door. But I respect your right to agree with the opinion that suits you

dvaey said :

Maybe rather than shopping around to try and find a doctor who’ll give your daughter what you want (rather than what they with a decade of training) think they want, you focus on getting a good family doctor.

Lots of doctors dont like patients who ‘shop’ around, and especially if your daughter needs specialist treatment it is in both her and your best interests to find a good family doctor who is aware of your family situation. I have needed to goto specialists all my life, and I can confirm that the few times Ive had to see a doctor who wasnt my regular family doctor, Id be given the 3rd degree even for a referal. With my own doctor, I never had any problems. As you point out, new doctors you visited, wanted to make sure your daughter needed the treatment rather than every helicopter parent being able to get their child referred to this specialist. If you think the wait for your specialist is long, imagine if every patient you had to wait for was there because their parents insisted, after doctors cast initial doubt.. should your daughter wait because they cant follow the steps? Should they wait because you cant wait to follow the steps?

I only shop around to find a doctor who will act in my daughter’s best interest, as explained in my previous post. Once I find a doctor I can trust – and they are as rare as hen’s teeth in Canberra for some reason – I will stick with them. And hopefully they won’t move interstate like has happened all too often too.

I have met some clowns in my many visits to GPs. I have lodged official complaints about two and am about to complain about another because in my opinion he totally failed in his duty of care and it could have landed my daughter in hospital if I wouldn’t have gone to another GP the next day.

The times when you trusted your doctor without questioning are long gone. I’ve heard way too many stories of people who were only saved from serious physical damage because they insisted on the proper tests or a second diagnosis. And if it concerns your child, you’ve got to be extra vigilant because they are unable to accurately describe the severity of their symptoms.

Ben_Dover said :

Doesn’t the fact that the GP refused REFUSED to give you a referral say something?

Doesn’t the fact that you are keeping the details to yourself speak louder?

If your daughter needs to see a specialist, who did the diagnosis and why did they not make a referral?

Have you visited many GPs in Canberra yourself? At least half of them could not give a flying F about their patients. As long as you don’t stay longer than 5 minutes in their consultation room. Then there’s those who do give the appearance that they care but still don’t have the time to listen to the whole story.

The vast majority treat you like you’re a total idiot and seem to have shares in Medicare (I know that’s not possible) because they are reluctant to even send you for the simplest test. I talked about this with a Chinese colleague yesterday and it seemed that I was not imagining that in other countries (including my birth country) they will send you for every possible test to confirm or rule out serious organ malfunctions before they make a final diagnosis. Here lots of doctors seem happy to make a diagnosis based on a description of symptoms only. Which is just not good enough for me. And which is why I want to see a specialist who knows exactly which tests need to be done and can make a diagnosis based on solid evidence. Seriously, I sometimes wonder if some of the doctors I’ve seen even remembered that medicine is an evidence-based science.

And why the hell would I want to bore anyone on RA with my daughter’s medical history? That’s purely between me, my daughter and the doctor.

The doctor I saw yesterday wholeheartedly agreed with my suggestion to see this particular kind of specialist. I choose to trust her opinion over the opinion of the previous GP and that is my good right.

I knew there’d be someone eventually giving me a hard time about this and acting all holier than thou. But you are not walking in my shoes and you know SFA about my situation. So find another pass-time because I’m a tad close to the edge right now.

Doesn’t the fact that the GP refused REFUSED to give you a referral say something?

Doesn’t the fact that you are keeping the details to yourself speak louder?

If your daughter needs to see a specialist, who did the diagnosis and why did they not make a referral?

Maybe rather than shopping around to try and find a doctor who’ll give your daughter what you want (rather than what they with a decade of training) think they want, you focus on getting a good family doctor.

Lots of doctors dont like patients who ‘shop’ around, and especially if your daughter needs specialist treatment it is in both her and your best interests to find a good family doctor who is aware of your family situation. I have needed to goto specialists all my life, and I can confirm that the few times Ive had to see a doctor who wasnt my regular family doctor, Id be given the 3rd degree even for a referal. With my own doctor, I never had any problems. As you point out, new doctors you visited, wanted to make sure your daughter needed the treatment rather than every helicopter parent being able to get their child referred to this specialist. If you think the wait for your specialist is long, imagine if every patient you had to wait for was there because their parents insisted, after doctors cast initial doubt.. should your daughter wait because they cant follow the steps? Should they wait because you cant wait to follow the steps?

AdventureTime said :

Getting a referral is important, and you should definitely have a say in which specialist you see. However, if you’re planning on seeing a specialist interstate, it’s important to have a good GP in Canberra who can monitor the treatment plan and not just provide a referral.

That’s a fair point. I have been finding it hard to find a GP whom I can trust (it is sad how many GPS are out there who clearly don’t give a stuff) and who does not treat me like an idiot, etc. But I think this one may tick all the boxes, so I will make sure I go see her again to report on our specialist visit.

I am really glad you found a GP to help. As someone that sees specialists in Sydney I also add my voice to having a good GP here that can wrangle the whole show. It can get complicated if something unexpected or urgent develops on your treatment plan and you need immediate advice. A good GP quickly becomes invaluable. Hope it all works out for you.

AdventureTime11:01 pm 16 Sep 11

Oops, I meant ‘expertise’. From what I’ve seen, there’s zero tolerance of spelling mistakes on the RiotACT!

AdventureTime10:57 pm 16 Sep 11

8 years of training? More like 10 years minimum, 12-15 years for most GPs, and ongoing mandatory continuing professional development once you’re a fellow of the college. A good GP (and yes, there are definitely bad ones!) is a highly trained doctor with just as much clinical experience and experise as a specialist.

Getting a referral is important, and you should definitely have a say in which specialist you see. However, if you’re planning on seeing a specialist interstate, it’s important to have a good GP in Canberra who can monitor the treatment plan and not just provide a referral.

Watson said :

ps0104 said :

particularly in terms of taking your own thoughts and research into account when recommending treatment options.

Thanks! Sounds like exactly what I’m after. So far, every new GP I’ve seen insists on starting the investigation from scratch and we just can’t afford the time that takes.

My guess is that’s because your research (as oppose to their 8 years of training) doesn’t absolve a GP from being sued if something goes wrong. But good luck, I do know how hard it is to get the right specialist in Canberra.

ps0104 said :

Dr Susan Morton, Kaleen Family Practice. Absoloutely fantastic doctor. Cannot recommend her highly enough, particularly in terms of taking your own thoughts and research into account when recommending treatment options.

She agreed to give me the referral immediately! And not because she wanted to get me out of there asap like some doctors but because she agreed it was a sensible move and that my child deserves to be seen by the right specialist and have all the relevant tests done. 😀

s-s-a said :

If you want to claim a travel subsidy, you will need to get the specialist referral from a specialist in the ACT. Can you go back to the Paed you’ve already seen?

Note that referrals between specialists are only valid for 3m which is a PITA.

I won’t bother with the travel subsidy. It’ll cost me a tank of fuel and possibly an overnight stay, but if we also take the opportunity to go do some sight seeing, that’ll be worth it.

I will make an appointment with the paed also, but don’t want to wait the expected 4 months for the referral.

If you want to claim a travel subsidy, you will need to get the specialist referral from a specialist in the ACT. Can you go back to the Paed you’ve already seen?

Note that referrals between specialists are only valid for 3m which is a PITA.

And yes, there are plenty of people in Canberra who go to specialists in Sydney. Especially for kids.

The Frots said :

Watson, try and make the specialist booking anyway and you can simply get the ‘referral’ at a later stage. I am sure that it wouldn’t be a problem given the posts here.

Really hope that it works out for you and your daughter – it s a shame that the ACT still can’t deal with such matters.

Good luck.

Thanks. When I called them about an appointment, they told me to fax through the referral. But if I don’t get the referral tomorrow, I’ll try again.

Watson, try and make the specialist booking anyway and you can simply get the ‘referral’ at a later stage. I am sure that it wouldn’t be a problem given the posts here.

Really hope that it works out for you and your daughter – it s a shame that the ACT still can’t deal with such matters.

Good luck.

Thanks all for your advice. Much appreciated! 🙂

Dr Thinh at Erindale Medical Practice is fantastic – highly recomend her as a GP and she is happy to refer to specialists in Sydney.

Why not try a walk in centre, like that 24hr practice up in belco. Usually they want to get you out the door as quick as possible, i’ve had no issues with referrals.

Maybe get in touch with the practice and talk to them about it? Chances are getting the referral isn’t actually worth it.

Or, perhaps, the nature of the condition being treated makes a referral and treatment record by the doctor necessary? Talk to them about it… you might find a better way to go.

SpellingAndGrammar said :

Technically, you don’t actually have to have a referral. It is only for Medicare benefit purposes. An unreferred consultation – item 53 has a rebate of $21. An initial referred consultation with a specialist has a rebate of $70 and a subsequent referred consultation has a rebate of $35.15 (higher if you are seeing a consultant physician). It would probably cost you more than the $49 difference to see a GP to get a referral in the first place. Good luck and hope it goes well.

Thanks, I didn’t know that. This clinic did ask for it to be faxed to them though. I know the paediatrician we saw last year used the referral to decide on our place on the waiting list. We got in after 4 months instead of 6 because of it. (Canberra specialist waiting times are ridiculous too!)

SpellingAndGrammar12:15 pm 14 Sep 11

Technically, you don’t actually have to have a referral. It is only for Medicare benefit purposes. An unreferred consultation – item 53 has a rebate of $21. An initial referred consultation with a specialist has a rebate of $70 and a subsequent referred consultation has a rebate of $35.15 (higher if you are seeing a consultant physician). It would probably cost you more than the $49 difference to see a GP to get a referral in the first place. Good luck and hope it goes well.

ps0104 said :

particularly in terms of taking your own thoughts and research into account when recommending treatment options.

Thanks! Sounds like exactly what I’m after. So far, every new GP I’ve seen insists on starting the investigation from scratch and we just can’t afford the time that takes.

Dr Susan Morton, Kaleen Family Practice. Absoloutely fantastic doctor. Cannot recommend her highly enough, particularly in terms of taking your own thoughts and research into account when recommending treatment options.

AdventureTime6:20 pm 07 Aug 11

vg said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Dr Wayne Pahn at Gungahlin Medical Centre is quite good also. He’s very calming and not abrupt like some GPs can be.

He is s***house and the primary reason we don’t go there any more. Lovely man but hopeless with important follow ups and the like. Would rather talk to my father in law about his property investments (FIL and ex estate agent) than listen to him and treat him. His staff are also quite pathetic.

Last go round with him they ‘forgot’ to give us the results of our kids test which would show whether he needed his appendix out or not. Kid in extreme pain, and of course it was a Friday arvo. We rang and rang (yes, the tests are in, Dr. Pahn will call you shortly). We ended up taking the child to hospital. Some may ask why we didn’t do that initially. Because we saw Wayne Pahn that morning, he sent us around the corner for the tests, and got the results back within an hour.

Nice man, s***house doctor

If he suspected your child had appendicitis, he should’ve referred you straight to the hospital in the first place. It’s usually an easy diagnosis to make based on history and physical examination, you shouldn’t need any tests!

If there don’t seem to be many recommendations, it’s only because Canberra’s good GPs pretty much all have closed lists. My GP closed her list 8 years ago.

Holden Caulfield said :

Dr Wayne Pahn at Gungahlin Medical Centre is quite good also. He’s very calming and not abrupt like some GPs can be.

He is s***house and the primary reason we don’t go there any more. Lovely man but hopeless with important follow ups and the like. Would rather talk to my father in law about his property investments (FIL and ex estate agent) than listen to him and treat him. His staff are also quite pathetic.

Last go round with him they ‘forgot’ to give us the results of our kids test which would show whether he needed his appendix out or not. Kid in extreme pain, and of course it was a Friday arvo. We rang and rang (yes, the tests are in, Dr. Pahn will call you shortly). We ended up taking the child to hospital. Some may ask why we didn’t do that initially. Because we saw Wayne Pahn that morning, he sent us around the corner for the tests, and got the results back within an hour.

Nice man, s***house doctor

Dr Aidan Lawrence was previously at the Phillip Medical centre in ACT. Does anyone know where he is practicing now.

Jackie

I had a great GP whom I followed from yass to canberra.he was at the Phillip Medical Centre. Four weeks after a consultation I rang in June to see if he was rostered on only to be told he had left and they dont know where he is. If anyone knows where he is practicing now I would appreciate his contact details.
Jackie

Gungahlin Al10:16 am 15 Mar 11

At the Gungahlin Community Council meeting last Wednesday, we had a presentation from the group that established the West Belconnen GP clinic cooperative. They are bidding for Federal funds to help them to build Superclinics at Gungahlin and Tuggers – all with bulk billing and the co-op model – you pay a small family membership per year.

GCC were pleased to lend our support to their bid.

However it will be a hard row for them to win over in the RFT – whoever designed that needs to have a rethink about their career path. How can you require a bidder to have already secured land?? Surely if an organisation can do that then they have no need of the public funding?

This morning I tried ringing several places (Gungahlin, spence, evatt, palmerston, giralang and 2 places in belconnen). The majority don’t bulk bill ever, and of the 2 that I found that did, one isn’t taking new patients, despite the fact that my entire family goes there. The one in Belconnen Mall however does bulk-bill to those with Health Care Cards. Unfortunately the experience I have had with one of the doctors there has been extremely sub-par, so I guess there is a matter of quality vs quantity.
Other than that, I can highly recommend the Uni doctors to students (free) or the co-op health centre in Charnwood. The only others I know of that bulk bill are the walk-in clinics and sitting around in a massive waiting room full of sick people for hours really isn’t what you want to be doing when you’re sick…

Hells_Bells,

I telephoned this advice line today http://www.healthdirect.org.au/health-information-services/24-hour-health-advice-line and the RN told me the same thing–that I’d just need to have a GP remove it. She was really helpful and spent several minutes searching for a conveniently located practice and then gave me all the contact info. It’s called Gungahlin General Practice. I’ll make an appointment this week…I’ll let you know how it goes.

Hells_Bells7410:10 am 01 Aug 10

Antonia – When I got mine at the Marie Stopes clinic the nurse told me I could just have it removed by a GP. As I don’t have a GP and haven’t for years, I’m late to get mine out too and a little daunted by finding the right GP.

Would be handy to read a few suggestions from others or if you find one Northside pass it on please.

I’m glad you found a good one Motleychick 🙂

I know this is an older post but it didn’t seem worth starting a new one on the same topic!

I’m in the same boat–looking for a doctor, not sure where to start. At least I think I’m looking for a doctor. I’m new to Australia, not familiar with the healthcare system at all, and can’t find detailed info online. I need to find a healthcare provider to remove my IUD. I don’t know if I need to make an appointment to see a nurse, a GP, a GYN or what.

Can anyone point me in the right direction, or offer specific recommendations? I’m in Gungahlin.
Thanks!

That is so great motleychick – I just love it when riotact is used for good instead of evil (LOL). Now you just need to try out my hairdresser recommendations 😉

deezagood said :

We love, love, love Dr Antonio Di dio (pronounced did-ay-oh) at Foundation Healthcare in Erindale (number is 6296 2266). He’s really terrific with kids, good fun (well my kids think he’s just hilarious), thorough, accurate and best of all, he bulk bills for children. Oh – and he’s taking new patients. I have also found the reception staff very willing to try and fit you in if your children are sick – often at short notice. If Antonio is too busy, there are often other doctors who can find the space. Highly recommended.

Dr di Dio is the doctor I saw – he was brilliant. Fantastic sense of humour and knows his stuff! Am very impressed and happy that I now have a new doctor!!

You know I think the problem is we understand our own bodies better than anyone and yet we are NOT doctors! Case in point, I had a doctor I very much respected for many years and then I had a spontaneous medical emergency, went to him for help and knew while I was feeling the symptoms he had it wrong so I went to casualty and from there I spent the next two weeks in hospital. What he considered to be a kidney stone- go home with a few drugs- turned out to be a life threatening emergency totally unrelated.
It’s not the doctor’s fault either – it’s Canberra- no doctors want to live here! We have a terrible shortage. And we give doctors way too much credence.

My advice is- try and stick to the one doctor but most of all look after yourself and listen to your own body telling you when things are wrong!

We love, love, love Dr Antonio Di dio (pronounced did-ay-oh) at Foundation Healthcare in Erindale (number is 6296 2266). He’s really terrific with kids, good fun (well my kids think he’s just hilarious), thorough, accurate and best of all, he bulk bills for children. Oh – and he’s taking new patients. I have also found the reception staff very willing to try and fit you in if your children are sick – often at short notice. If Antonio is too busy, there are often other doctors who can find the space. Highly recommended.

I’d be just happy to find one that can tell the time!

Correction. Taking new patients, and can generally see you within a day or so of calling.

(Way too many medical centres and doctors will try and slot you in two weeks later).

I would highly recommend Dr Morrison in Phillip – not sure if she takes new patients tho

Hi all, thank you for the suggestions, much appreciated. Someone suggested to me yesterday to try Foundation Healthcare in Erindale and have booked an appointment with them for today – will let you know what they are like.

Feathergirl – I have seen Dr Williams before – not a fan at all. And after my doctor left Phillip I have gone back once and hated it, it feels like a meatmarket!!

MrPC – most places I called are taking on new patients.

Once again, thanks for the suggestions. Guess I will just have to keep trying until I find one that I like!

Hey Motleychick, I see Dr Williams at the Tuggeranong Medical Centre whom I love, but you usually can’t get an appointment with her the same day you call. I do like the Tuggeranong Medical centre as it is bright, friendly and I often see staff disinfecting the seats etc. The nurses station at the back has it’s own waiting room with a good kids play area (good for distracting the little ones after they get their needles). Maybe try a few doctors there and see which one suits you.

I would not recommend Phillip Medical centre.

We have stuck with Gordon Valley Medical Centre since we have been in Canberra. The only downside is that they open only from 8.30 – 5.30/Mon – Fri – sometimes getting there is difficult with work commitments, however they do not ever seem excessively booked out. They also have a nurse there. We generally see Dr’s Richard and Katherine Rowe who own the practice, but all doctors there seem good and the turn over is not high.

You won’t have much luck looking for a good doctor. You’d be better off if you look for a doctor that is accepting new patients. The latter is somewhat more important.

Dr Chenault Doug Lee at Erindale Medical Centre – A man with a heart of gold.

dr leerdam and dr evans at chifley family medical practice are fantastic but not sure if they are taking new patients – worth a try though.

Bungle said :

All I can say is don’t go to the Wanniassa Medical Centre. I went there yesterday and no one would answer the door. What’s with that??

God I hope you really did that. That would be hilarious.

Yeah but Davo’s after something near the Uni and in Civic.

Davo, prolly best to get a bus to Woden then walk (or $6 in a cab the first time) to Phillip – they have REALLY good doctors and EVERYTHING (X-Rays, the lot) is Bulk-Billed.

Get the route down pat!

tylersmayhem9:26 pm 10 Aug 08

Sorry, forgot to mention that Dr Tait does not bulk bill as far as I am aware. Then again. depends if you want a doctor, or a “certificate centre”.

tylersmayhem9:25 pm 10 Aug 08

I couldn’t wish for a better doctor than Brenda Tait in Corinna Chambers, Phillip. So thorough and professional. Brilliant! I would imagine that her books would be pretty full though.

thanks everyone. really appreciate your help.

swamiOFswank12:28 pm 10 Aug 08

If you’re under 25 you can see a doctor for free at The Junction. Go to Civic youth centre near the skate park. There are good doc’s there.

I go to the Interchange Medical Centre in Civic. Not sure if their books are open, but the doctors and staff are really friendly and efficient. Not too sure about bulk billing though.

Waramanga Medical Centre is good. It generally has spots available, and the doctors are very knowledgable. It’s also one of the more affordable practices that I’ve been to.

All I can say is don’t go to the Wanniassa Medical Centre. I went there yesterday and no one would answer the door. What’s with that??

I heard that the Ainslie Family Practice still has “free spots” for new patients. No bulk billing though.

I have found the doctors at the Phillip place to be really good, contrary to my prior experiences with bulk billing barns.

Slim pickings, I’m afraid. These are usually booked out too.

http://www.doctors-4u.com/Canberra/cbbill.htm

You can usually get in within a couple of days but are best to call at 9am to have any hope of a same day appointment. Consulations are shorter at bulk billing places and usually cater for simple and quick matters such as medical certificates etc.

If are are genuinely sick and want a sooner, longer appointment, you are better off forking out where you get all but $25-30 back on medicare.

Holden Caulfield8:59 am 15 May 08

Dr Wayne Pahn at Gungahlin Medical Centre is quite good also. He’s very calming and not abrupt like some GPs can be.

CanberraResident
(Picketer)
19:00, 14 May 2008
Quote
ah yes deezagood, I understand, but has not this wundabar Gungahlin Drive Extension helped you somewhat? It has cut many a minute off my trip from Gunners to Tuggers

Oh yes CanberraResident;my Florey hair chick (seriously, the best stylist/colorist in Canberra and half the price of the city salons) is much more attainable but that extra 10 mins to the BIG G … yeesh ….

Michelle Barratt at Hughes Family Practice is really good – not entirely sure what her waiting list is, I’ve been a client there since I was about 9.

CanberraResident7:00 pm 14 May 08

ah yes deezagood, I understand, but has not this wundabar Gungahlin Drive Extension helped you somewhat? It has cut many a minute off my trip from Gunners to Tuggers … even during peak hour … but, understood, a local medico is usually the most convenient all the same …

Thanks for locating Dr Steve, CanberraResident … but Gungahlin is getting a wee bit far for me … (oh wow, a 35 minute drive seems too far – I really have become a Canberran!).

CanberraResident4:39 pm 14 May 08

no worries, Chronicle proves yet again it is a worthwhile read …

Thanks CanberraResident –

CanberraResident4:13 pm 14 May 08

deezagood said :

Agree with stray – you won’t find a better doc than Steve Kennealy (he is especially good with little kids) but he is no longer at Ainslie – does anybody know where he went??

Dr Steve Kennealy has moved to Gungahlin General Practice. Started there on 12 May 2008. Phone number 6241 0888. Big advert in this week’s Canberra Chronicle (only reason I know this information – thank you Chronicle …). there are quite a few good docs at that practice …

Be sure not to confuse Gungahlin General Practice with the other one known as Gungahlin Medical Centre I think, which is a few doors up and very similar phone number from memory …

Everytime I need to go to a doctor (which is pretty rare – say once every 9 months or so) I run into the issue of doctors not taking new patients. Usually I would go to Ainslie, being closest to my home, but last time they had a waiting list of 4 days which wasn’t going to work for that particular issue. I began calling all other doctors in the area and was met with the same response that “their books were closed and Dr … wasn’t taking any new patients at this time”. I must have called 6 or 7 and got the same response. Growing ever more frustrated I asked the receptionist if she knew of any doctors who were taking new patients at this time and she mentioned somewhere in north belconnen. That would be fine if I had a car but since I don’t it would mean a few hours navigating the public transport system to get there and back – either that or packing a sandwich and sitting in emergency for a day. I eventually got into a place in Dickson.
As a result of having to see a differnt doctor every visit (often in a different location) I have no long term medical records except what I store in my brain. My records are now scattered all over the city from Chapman to Florey – at least now I can say I’m an exisitng patient at most!
A useful site I found was this:
http://www.doctors-4u.com/Canberra/areas.htm
It lists all the medical centres by location and I found it very useful.

tylersmayhem10:32 am 14 May 08

Nice points there Gun Street Girl!

gun street girl9:37 am 14 May 08

A doctor who “takes their time” often does so at a loss – in a standard consultation for a GP, if the patient isn’t in and out within 15-20 minutes from go to whoa, they lose money. In my experience, it’s impossible to accurately take a history and clinically assess in such a small space of time. So, a tip – if you’ve got lots of questions and issues to deal with (beyond “I have a cold and need a certificate”), book an extended appointment. That way, you get your time with the GP, they are appropriately renumerated, and they aren’t running behind on the rest of their list for the remainder of the day.

tylersmayhem9:33 am 14 May 08

I guess it often comes down to you get what you pay for. It’s true that there is a huge lack of certificate centres (bulk billing) practices in Canberra now. But I think if you want a “good” doctor who bulk bills, it’s like asking for a 5 course meal at a fine dining restaurant for $15! Any time I’ve been to a Certificate Centre, it’s like McDonald’s. Turn over as many patients (and money) in a day as possible, and everyone’s laughing, except for the misdiagnosed souls who trust their health in a “money maker” rather than a professional GP. This will no doubt spark a debate about how not everyone can afford a good doctor etc etc, and I’m not denying there is a definite GP shortage in this town. What I will say is that if you are prepared to spend a few hundred bucks servicing your car every 10,000km, you should be bloody well putting money aside to look after you and your families health – full stop.

I can recommend Dr Brenda Tait in Woden. She’s been my GP for years and is thorough, professional and makes sure all bases are covered. She was recommended to me by several family friends who all work in the healthcare industry years ago. It’s hard to find an excellent Dr who you can stick with. Dr Tait is not the cheapest around, but I think she’s the best.

Not sure about the possibility of her taking on new patients, but I booked an appointment last week, and I only needed to wait about 4 – 5 days.

Thanks for the recs, everyone.
Later on I’ll look all of them up and ring around to see who will accept new patients, and who doesn’t.

As for what makes a good doctor and a bad doctor, CanberraResident is spot on. I just want someone who is honest, takes their time, and makes me feel comfortable, especially with ‘all round checkups’ if you know what I mean.

Doug Lee in Erindale is smart and pleasant, but very busy. I don’t know if he has hired a new offsider yet, but his choice in them has been brilliant in the past. I know someone who swears by the medical centre near the Wanniassa shopping centre – lots of doctors and all/most of them good.

Agree with previous comments on demand/waiting and bulkbilling. I have assumed it’s just not going to happen during my lifetime.

Agree with stray – you won’t find a better doc than Steve Kennealy (he is especially good with little kids) but he is no longer at Ainslie – does anybody know where he went??

Magella, I’m going to call them tomorrow to check that, and if you’re right, me and the relative will be THERE. Pam Whalen is the best doctor I’ve ever encountered.

ANU health service rules are you have to be at ANU to use it, so I assumed UCAN was the same. location-wise, it’s inconvenient, but that’s a tiny consideration. Thanks!

“I eventually found a fantastic GP at Ainslie, and was delighted, but now she’s moved to the Uni of Canberra health service (if you are at UCAN, her name’s Pam Whalen and she’s brilliant). So now I don’t know where to go next time I need a doctor.”

You don’t need to be a student at UC to to see the doctors at the health centre, all of whom are great, especially richard mater and jenny weeks.

I adore Dr Steven Kenneally at Ainslie. He is all class.
Shame though, problem with good docs, everyone else wants to see them too!
Takes a while to get an appointment, let alone on the days you are unwell – but he is just terrific if you can.
Very good esp if you have an ongoing condition.

CanberraResident9:13 pm 13 May 08

A “bad” doctor could be one that has a bad bedside manner, too quick to prescribe medications, dismisses doing further tests (and yet a week later another doctor suggests that tests should have been done), touches you without telling you what he is about to do, doesn’t explain your condition, doesn’t explain the purpose of any prescribed medication, and boots you out the door in under 5 minutes … you know, that kind of thing …

A “good” doctor is thorough, asks many questions, is genuinely interested in helping you, takes you seriously, is not too quick to boot you out of the door, provides helpful information and advice, tells you if you need to come back to see him again and the reasons why, provides an honest medical certificate, explains the purpose of your medication, and is supportive, and friendly.

Simple really.

“A good doctor”

What are your criteria for determining what’s a “good” (and for that matter a “bad”) doctor?

Drs Khushbir Johar, Aidan Lawrence, John Sanderson and Paul Joseph are all good – they’re at Phillip Medical Centre (where they bulk bill everyone). For the best treatment you should probably go there and request to see one of the above, if they’re available, rather than one of the other doctors in the Centre (which don’t provide as good a service IMHO, and some are very rushed, in order to push patients through, especially those who need a simple course of antibiotics for example).

I don’t know if there’s a waiting list/no new patients but Dr Ian Mills at O’Connor shops is excellent – I went to him once in being the closest GP to me at the time when I couldn’t get into my normal GP and I never went back to my old GP after that. He is fantastic!

Echo the sentiments of the OP. When I ripped my achilles and could only shuffle (slowly), finding a GP taking a new patient was a long, depressing exercise. I eventually found a fantastic GP at Ainslie, and was delighted, but now she’s moved to the Uni of Canberra health service (if you are at UCAN, her name’s Pam Whalen and she’s brilliant). So now I don’t know where to go next time I need a doctor. A relative got in to see a GP at that Brindabella health centre in Queanbeyan today, and was pretty happy with them.

I’ve been seeingn a dermatologist in Bowral, because the wait to get in to one of the few here in Canberra was like 6 months, to see the Bowral person was a couple of weeks, and if you can make it to Campbletown, it’s days!

Canberra has the lowest rate of bulk billing doctors in Australia, so your chances of getting a good family doctor who bulk bills are buckleys to none.

Canberra has the second lowest rate of doctors per capita (second only to some remote area of the NT), which is why the doctors who are here can charge like wounded bulls, and you still have to wait days for an appointment.

Ditto to Canberra Resident’s comments about Palmerston Medical Clinic in general and Dr Gan specifically. It is a wonderful clinic in a very convenient location for Gungahlin residents especially, and they bend over backwards to get you in the same day or soon after with your preferred doctor. There is a great pharmacy at the Palmerston Shopping Centre as well, which is doubly convenient. (The pizza shop there is pretty fantastic too!)

CanberraResident6:04 pm 13 May 08

Try Palmerston Medical Centre. They don’t bulk bill, but if you ask nicely and explain your circumstances, they MAY ask you to pay the gap only (about $14 or so). No guarantees though. Three excellent doctors. I always ask for Dr Michael Gan, telephone 6242 9464, Tiptree Crescent Palmerston ACT 2913. Friendly, very highly recommended, professional and knows his stuff. Great with kids too. I had the same doc for 15 years until he retired recently. Found Gan a few months ago and he’s great.

Good luck.

I can recommend my doctor – at the Garema Place Surgery, upstairs in (surprise!) Garema Place. However i don’t know how easy it is to get an appointment as a new patient, as i’ve been going there for about five years. I do know that i can call them at about 8 in the morning and eight or nine times out of ten i’ll get an appointment that day. And i never wait more than about five minutes for my scheduled appointment.

They have four GPs (i think, maybe it’s five) and a nurse and they’re very professional but friendly and warm. I’ve seen all the doctors and would recommend them all.

gun street girl5:45 pm 13 May 08

Canberra is currently classified as an “area of need” as far as GPs go – at last count, there was a ratio of one GP for every 1000 patients, or thereabouts. The exceptionally good ones, who people often recommend (and those well known within the industry) have usually had their books closed for years.

I can’t recommend mine because you have to wait 3 weeks for a non-emergency apppointment and you can’t get in on th day even if you are sick

so yesterday morning I got up asnd went to the Phillip bulk billing clinic and got in and out so I could get my drs cert and script. only a 15 min wait at 7am, but if you get there after 9, expect to wait 3 hours to be seen.

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