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No resources for Opthalmology Outpatient Clinics. Where to go?

By DeskMonkey - 3 July 2012 16

opthalmology letter

Another example of the Public Health system failing the public.

Our two year old has a blocked tear duct, that I am told is not an urgent thing – however she is prone to conjunctivitis and is constantly weeping tears.

Could RA’s recommend some other Ophthalmology providers in Canberra – public and private?

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
No resources for Opthalmology Outpatient Clinics. Where to go?
sepi 11:18 pm 04 Jul 12

You could try to just see any private opthalmologist in Sydney, rather than go straight to the hospital. You;ll just need a GP referral to that opthalmologist, rather than a paediatrician referral to the hospital.

I don’t know how long the waits are in sydney, but at least you will probably find one who is taking on patients.

thatsnotme 10:33 pm 04 Jul 12

Hellno said :

You will probably need to give the Canberra Eye Hospital a shot. There are quite a lot of ophthalmologists there including the very nice Iain Dunlop (the guy in their ad on TV) and it may not be as bad as the experience of thatsnotme, particularly if you see a different doctor.

I’m not sure that will be an option, unfortunately. I know that when we went there, we were simply referred to the practice, not any particular ophthalmologist. We had no idea who we would be seeing beforehand, and while there may be really nice ophthalmologists working there, we didn’t get to experience any of them…so whenever the subject of the Canberra Eye Hospital comes up, my immediate reaction is ‘run as far and as fast as you can’.

I would have to say that we probably experienced the worst of the practice though. The ophthalmologist we dealt with had a reputation that extended to THC, and Westmead. Whenever my wife called, and said that she’d had a bad experience at the Canberra Eye Hospital, the person she was speaking to knew exactly who she was speaking about. I’d be more willing to cut the practice as a whole more slack, if it wasn’t for the fact that they continue to employ someone with a reputation that’s bad enough it extends hundreds of kilometers.

Hellno 9:23 pm 04 Jul 12

You will probably need to give the Canberra Eye Hospital a shot. There are quite a lot of ophthalmologists there including the very nice Iain Dunlop (the guy in their ad on TV) and it may not be as bad as the experience of thatsnotme, particularly if you see a different doctor.

misspris 4:24 pm 04 Jul 12

I suspect ACT Health would like to provide better ophthalmology services but as in other departments in the hospital sometimes it’s nigh on impossible to recruit staff.

DeskMonkey 1:32 pm 04 Jul 12

sepi said :

Shite system – I would head straight for Sydney, or perhaps try goulburn or somewhere like that for an opthalmologist. Our Canberra Eye hosp dr sends kids to Sydney for operations anyway, so if you’re not happy with Canb. eye hospital, I’d go straight to sydney.

Slight bump in the situation – Sydney wont’ accept a referral from a GP (only a specialist). So off to see a Paediatrician to get a referral..then find out the Paediatrician needs a referral from the GP..then find out the GP needs to see the kiddlet again because the original GP is on leave! It’s like an endless merry-go-round!
As a side note – no one that I spoke to in the Paediatricians office or the GP’s office knew that TCH doesn’t have a Paediatric Ophthalmologist.
Thank you for your responses.

sepi 9:35 am 04 Jul 12

eye health services are another Canberra health nightmare.

I waited 6 months to see a dr at Canberra Eye hospital. In that time the dr we were booked with left and we got someone else – luckily he turned out to be good. the place is shite, the receptionists are incompetent dragons, the system is ridiculous – they wanted me to fax a ‘general referral’ and they would choose who we could see. My dr wanted to write a referral to a specific person, not just a referral to that private business. The number of dr visits and phone calls I had to make just to get an appt with them was ridiculous, and then it took 4 months or something to get in anyway – and this for a baby, where the sooner they get treatment, the better their lifelong vision and hand-eye coordination will be. I feel like sueing Katy G for the costs of my child’s ongoing eye issues.

Shite system – I would head straight for Sydney, or perhaps try goulburn or somewhere like that for an opthalmologist. Our Canberra Eye hosp dr sends kids to Sydney for operations anyway, so if you’re not happy with Canb. eye hospital, I’d go straight to sydney.

Another tip is to try to get a morning appt for little kids – you will have to wait around a lot and if they are tired and cranky or just screaming with their eyes shut the appt is basically wasted.

snoopydoc 10:51 pm 03 Jul 12

“Able to see in private rooms” + “No time to see in public clinic” = wrong ratio of public:private workload on the part of VMOs… and lack of actual full-time staff specialist ophthalmologists because they’re essentially all VMOs.

Unfortunately the situation is unlikely to change unless one of two things happens… the public system pays staff specialists well enough to make full-time public practice the financially / personally attractive option… or… some weird new breed of ophthalmologist emerge who are immune to the sense of entitlement that seems to come with several years of arduous postgraduate training and to the temptation of pursuing the more lucrative option of predominantly private practice.

birder 4:20 pm 03 Jul 12

DJMac, thank you very much – that is reassuring!

DJ Mac 3:38 pm 03 Jul 12

To birder – I wouldn’t scare yourself – Medicare will pay where ever you are treated in Australia as long as you have a Medicare card. I have had referrals to specialists in Sydney and Melbourne (long term issues) and have never had a problem with Medicare paying their share. Only problems have been transport there and accomodation – luckily I have friends and family who are willing to put me up.

DeskMonkey 3:05 pm 03 Jul 12

wrigbe said :

Dr Tridgell is the Ophthalmologist who specialises in children in Canberra, however one of his receptionists is an absolute dragon. Could be worth ringing back and trying to get a different receptionist. Dr Tridgell is very good with children.

I did speak to a really nice lady who said that he was booked out till about 6 months in advance which in their opinion (which aligns with mine) is too long for a child to receive that care. so as nice and understanding as she was they couldn’t accomdate us.

birder 3:03 pm 03 Jul 12

This scares the daylights out of me. I’m new to Australia (permanent resident) and I don’t understand the system at all. If our preschooler had an eye problem, and our doctor referred us to the Sydney’s children’s hospital (mentioned in previous comment), who pays for it? I was not sure if medicare would pay since we are ACT residents. We have private insurance but that is useless in this case because it only pays for hospital stays and optional extras (massage, osteopath, chiropractor, dental etc).

wrigbe 2:58 pm 03 Jul 12

Dr Tridgell is the Ophthalmologist who specialises in children in Canberra, however one of his receptionists is an absolute dragon. Could be worth ringing back and trying to get a different receptionist. Dr Tridgell is very good with children.

dungfungus 2:19 pm 03 Jul 12

thatsnotme said :

The only provider I know of in Canberra is the Canberra Eye Hospital, a private clinic.

After taking our two year old there to have some eye issues looked at, we walked out of the place vowing that we would never take him back there again. The doctor who dealt with him was incredibly rude and unpleasant – it was as though she’d never actually spoken to a child before, and wasn’t particularly happy with needing to on this occasion. She made both my wife and I feel like we were idiots for not having him seen to previously – despite his condition never being picked up over numerous routine child health checks, and doctor visits. It wasn’t until a doctor commented on it during an appointment for something completely unrelated that we had the first idea there was a problem. At the end of the appointment, we were ushered out being given only the most basic information about his condition.

We ended up getting a referral to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney, who do have specialist children’s ophthalmic services.

It probably goes some way to describing just how unhappy we were with the Canberra Eye Hospital that we’re more than happy to make the trip to Sydney to have him looked at.

Unfortunately, your options in Canberra are really limited.

thatsnotme said :

The only provider I know of in Canberra is the Canberra Eye Hospital, a private clinic.

After taking our two year old there to have some eye issues looked at, we walked out of the place vowing that we would never take him back there again. The doctor who dealt with him was incredibly rude and unpleasant – it was as though she’d never actually spoken to a child before, and wasn’t particularly happy with needing to on this occasion. She made both my wife and I feel like we were idiots for not having him seen to previously – despite his condition never being picked up over numerous routine child health checks, and doctor visits. It wasn’t until a doctor commented on it during an appointment for something completely unrelated that we had the first idea there was a problem. At the end of the appointment, we were ushered out being given only the most basic information about his condition.

We ended up getting a referral to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney, who do have specialist children’s ophthalmic services.

It probably goes some way to describing just how unhappy we were with the Canberra Eye Hospital that we’re more than happy to make the trip to Sydney to have him looked at.

Unfortunately, your options in Canberra are really limited.

They don’t appear to have any Canberra based VMOs at the TCH Eye Clinic. The last time I was there (they are a grumpy lot but they have little autonomy and the appointment sytem has been centralised at TCH and it is a mess) I was examined by an interstate VMO who had flown in for the day. That VMO was totally competent but after I was referred elsewhere in the hospital for tests I quickly got the message that interstate VMOs were not welcome at TCH. The bureacats are alive and ruling at TCH.

DeskMonkey 1:50 pm 03 Jul 12

so I rang them and they refer children to Westmead or Randwick hospitals because they don’t have acccess to a Paediatric Ophthalmologist…I wonder how we petition for something like this.

I also found out that there are limited Ophth…blah blah’s in Canberra who see children:
1. Dr Dickson no children
2. Dr Tridgell – booking 6 months in advance (too long to wiat for children) no children
3. Canberra Eye Hostpital – $175 for initial consultation, bad reports, 6 month wait, once you get the appoinment you then have to book another appointment at Calvary!

So frustrating

thatsnotme 12:00 pm 03 Jul 12

The only provider I know of in Canberra is the Canberra Eye Hospital, a private clinic.

After taking our two year old there to have some eye issues looked at, we walked out of the place vowing that we would never take him back there again. The doctor who dealt with him was incredibly rude and unpleasant – it was as though she’d never actually spoken to a child before, and wasn’t particularly happy with needing to on this occasion. She made both my wife and I feel like we were idiots for not having him seen to previously – despite his condition never being picked up over numerous routine child health checks, and doctor visits. It wasn’t until a doctor commented on it during an appointment for something completely unrelated that we had the first idea there was a problem. At the end of the appointment, we were ushered out being given only the most basic information about his condition.

We ended up getting a referral to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney, who do have specialist children’s ophthalmic services.

It probably goes some way to describing just how unhappy we were with the Canberra Eye Hospital that we’re more than happy to make the trip to Sydney to have him looked at.

Unfortunately, your options in Canberra are really limited.

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