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Best Doctors In Canberra

Emily Morris 20 August 2019 144

Canberra’s Best Doctors

Finding a doctor you can trust is important. Whether you need them only for emergencies or for an ongoing medical situation, you still only want to see the best. Peace of mind is invaluable in medical consultations, which is why we have uncovered Canberra’s best doctors according to user testimonies.

What makes a good and reliable doctor?

A good doctor should be:

  • Calm and clear while dealing with patients
  • Able to listen to you and take information without pre-judging
  • Well-versed in a wide range of medical complaints and procedures
  • Caring and kind
  • Good at explaining symptoms, tests, and treatments
  • Happy to work through different tests and treatments until you find what works for you
  • Reliable and consistent so you know you can always book in with them at the same place

Dr Felicity Donaghy at Garema Place Surgery

Past patients have said that “all of the GPs there are terrific”, but that Dr Donaghy in particular is “tops”. This surgery comes highly recommended from those who have visited it previously.

The Garema Place Surgery has been around since 2000. Dr Donaghy herself has been in General Practice since 1990. She graduated from Sydney University and is now the Principal at the surgery. She works Mondays to Fridays and is not available for consultations on the weekends.

Dr Philip Toua at Watson Medical Centre

Dr Toua is one of the best doctors at the Watson Medical Centre and has been recommended by name. Patients say that he “couldn’t have been more caring or attentive” when they have dealt with him in the past.

If you have previously visited Dr Toua at the Giralang Medical Centre, you should know that this practice has closed down and merged with the Watson Medical Centre. This may cause some confusion for previous patients, particularly if you have not received any notification from the medical staff.

If Dr Toua is not available when you book, Dr Janine Kelly also works at the same practice and also comes recommended. They are both fantastic at dealing with children, pregnancies, and any post-natal issues you may have.

Dr Gan, Dr Sandy Vitikos, and Dr Southi at Palmerston Medical Centre

This place is a joy to visit, according to previous patients, who say that even “the receptionists are friendly”. Dr Southi is “phenomenal with kids”. “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”. He seems to be a winner all round with reviewers.

Dr Vitikos is “super friendly”, while Dr Gan has “a lot of certificates on his wall” due to a prolific and successful medical career through his life so far. Patients note that it costs a full $70 fee here, but Medicare rebates will be processed in-house to reduce the fee by around $34.

West Belconnen Co-op

If you have a medical emergency rather than an ongoing situation, you may not be worried about being able to see the same doctor over the long-term. In this case, the West Belconnen Co-op might be a good choice.

Past patients recommend this surgery because it has “amazing doctors”. User experience tells us that “they usually come over from England for 12 months” at a time, though they are generally very well-trained and cheap to visit.

All of the information that you see here is only possible through user reviews. If you have had a great experience with someone who you think may rank amongst Canberra’s best doctors, make sure to leave a comment below. We may update this page to include your recommendations and reviews soon!


What's Your Opinion?


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144 Responses to Best Doctors In Canberra
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tylersmayhem 10:32 am 14 May 08

Nice points there Gun Street Girl!

gun street girl 9:37 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.

tylersmayhem 9:33 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.

omqvc 9:18 am 14 May 08

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.

VicePope 7:38 am 14 May 08

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.

deezagood 10:51 pm 13 May 08

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??

ant 10:24 pm 13 May 08

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!

magella 9:52 pm 13 May 08

"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.

stray 9:20 pm 13 May 08

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.

CanberraResident 9:13 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.

Myrmecia 8:46 pm 13 May 08

"A good doctor"

What are your criteria for determining what's a "good" (and for that matter a "bad") doctor?

Meconium 8:28 pm 13 May 08

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).

toriness 8:15 pm 13 May 08

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!

ant 7:57 pm 13 May 08

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!

sepi 6:56 pm 13 May 08

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.

nanzan 6:49 pm 13 May 08

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!)

CanberraResident 6:04 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.

cazjs 6:00 pm 13 May 08

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 girl 5:45 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.

Fiona 5:43 pm 13 May 08

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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