POLICY

Practice Policy

Referrals

A referral from another doctor is required in order to make an appointment. Referrals from your General Practitioner are valid for 12 months, whereas referrals from specialists are valid for 3 months.

Please note that acceptance of indefinite referrals is at Dr Drummond’s discretion. An indefinite referral is for one defined condition only. it is accepted by this practice for 3 years. After that, in the interests of good medical care, updated information in the form of a new referral is required from your doctor. Indefinite referrals are not accepted for DVA patients.

All referrals are triaged by Dr Drummond, and appointments allocated according to the type and urgency of your skin condition. Priority appointments are given to patients with certain types of skin conditions.

Referrals can be sent by your doctor or by you personally, by email, fax, post, encrypted messaging or delivered in person. Please ensure that your correct contact details are noted on your referral, including phone number, email address and postal address. 

If we are able to offer you an appointment, you will be contacted so that we can arrange a mutually suitable appointment. Once this has been agreed upon, we will send confirmation in writing, usually by email.

We may return referrals for non-urgent conditions, due to lack of available appointments.  Sometimes Dr Drummond considers that the practice cannot provide the service that is required.
 
You will be advised if we are unable to offer you an appointment.
 If we are unable to contact you. we will assume that the referral is no longer required.
 
It is not this practice’s responsibility to refer you to another specialist, or to find you an available appointment with another dermatologist, although we may make suggestions for alternative practices, usually in Sydney.
 
Patients who are not eligible for Medicare are still required to submit a request for appointment in writing.
 
Please note that sending a referral does not guarantee that an appointment will be offered. You are not a patient of the practice until an appointment has been confirmed by phone and in writing. We reserve the right to cancel any future booked appointments in the case of disrespectful behaviour towards our staff. Please read the Expected Behaviour policy below.
 
You are not a patient of the practice unless you have a valid referral. In the case of indefinite referrals, if you have not been seen for over 12 months, you are not a current patient of the practice.

Appointments

If the appointment is for a child subject to a Parenting Order please ensure both parents are informed of this appointment.

Please ensure that you provide results and reports relating to any previous tests. If these are available at the time of consultation it will save you time, and may reduce the need for you to have further tests or return for an extra consultation. Bringing an up-to -date list of medications is also helpful.

When you arrive for your appointment please check in at the reception desk. The receptionist will confirm your identity and contact details. You may be asked to be seated in the waiting room, or be taken immediately to a consulting room.

The time allocated for a standard consultation is usually only adequate for one skin issue to be addressed. Additional concerns you may wish to discuss cannot always be addressed during the same consultation and may require an additional appointment.

Some procedures can be done at the time of appointment, but if more complex or lengthy, another appointment will be scheduled.

Review appointments are offered and scheduled at the discretion of the doctor according to medical need. Dr Drummond may not offer you another appointment if not medically necessary or if it is considered that further consultation will not be beneficial.

A letter is written back to your referring doctor unless you specifically request otherwise. Letters are written after the first appointment, and for review appointments if there has been a new diagnosis or change in management, and after one year. Letters may not be written after every review appointment if there has been no change in your skin condition nor change in management.

Appointment times are approximate only. Please take this into account when parking and arranging your other commitments on the day. The nature of medicine means that all patients and presentations are unique and often unpredictable. Sometimes patients booked before you have been late for their appointment, thereby causing delays for others who follow them.

There is an undersupply of specialist dermatologists in Canberra, which creates an excessive demand for our services.

Every effort is made to run to schedule, but delays are possible and unavoidable.

If your appointment time is delayed, we do thank you for understanding.
If this is a concern in relationship to your other commitments, please contact us 30 minutes ahead of your appointment time to check if Dr Drummond is running late.

If you yourself are running late, please let us know so we can adjust your appointment time.

If you have not arrived prior to your appointment time, patients subsequently booked will be seen before you in order to keep the practice running efficiently.

Cancellation

You will receive a phone call or SMS 3 days before your scheduled appointment. To confirm please respond to the message within 24 hours.

If you do not wish to attend at that time but want to reschedule your appointment, you will need to contact the practice to arrange this.

If no reply to our message is received within 24 hours your appointment will be cancelled and will be offered to another patient on our waiting list.

The availability of appointments is oversubscribed due to high demand for specialist dermatology services. We will endeavour to find you another appointment in the near future but cannot guarantee this.

If you confirm the appointment and fail to attend, or give less than 48 hours notice of cancellation, a cancellation fee may be added to your account and must be paid before any more appointments are made, unless there are reasonable extenuating circumstances.

A letter is sent to your referring doctor advising them that you did not attend the appointment. This is accepted practice and a medicolegal requirement.

Fees

Drummond Dermatology sets fees at a level which reflects the expertise and experience of a specialist dermatologist, as well as the cost of running a private medical practice.

 
The fee for consultation reffects the complexity and number of issues. Consideration is given to the duration of the appointment, although this is not the primary factor. Fees also take into account time spent on non face-to-face activities related to patient care (such as phone calls and administrative tasks, undertaken by the doctor and practice staff).

There are a range of fees depending on whether you are a new or returning patient. If you have not been seen for more than 12 months you are a “new” patient for Medicare purposes, with some exceptions.

New patients are provided with an estimate of the cost of an initial consultation fee. This fee may be higher for extended consultations, for complex issues and where multiple problems are discussed.  

Fees may be reduced on a discretionary basis for those on FULL old age and disability pensions. We do not routinely offer reduced fees to Health Care card holders.
 

This is a private practice. We do not “bulk-bill”.
Online claiming of Medicare rebates may be offered, but this is offered for convenience and is not a primary responsibility of this practice.

Accounts must be settled on the day pf your consultation. Payments are accepted by credit and debit cards (Mastercard or Visa) or by direct bank transfer (if receipt is provided before the appointment). We do not accept American Express or Diners Club cards. Personal cheques are not accepted.

Cash payments are discouraged in accordance with COVID guidelines.
For telehealth consultations prepayment is taken over the phone by credit card before the consultation commences.

The practice does not charge a fee for consultations and procedures to eligible DVA cardholders. However, in some circumstances a fee may be charged for consumable items.

If a third party (Workers’ compensation, Medicolegal and Defence) is responsible for payment of the account the practice must be advised prior to confirming the appointment, with appropriate documentation submitted prior to confirmation of the appointment.

If this is not advised prior to the appointment any fees will be payable by the patient at the time of consultation, or the appointment will be rescheduled.

We do not accept third party payments in other situations (such as overseas medical insurance policies). Payment must be made by the patient on the day of consultation.

Further services or procedures will attract additional fees (including biopsies, excisions, cryotherapy and curettage).

In the interest of informed financial consent, please ask for a quotation or estimate before you agree to a procedure or extra service. Sometimes it is not possible to provide you with the exact fee. Medicare item numbers depend on the diagnosis which may not be known at the time of consultation.

Review appointment fees depend on the more on the complexity of the skin problem, rather than duration of the appointment.
The fee for routine annual checks is applicable whether or not you have an indefinite referral for that condition.

If pathology is required you may receive a separate account from the pathology provider. Although most pathology services are bulk billed, there may be fees for some services. If this is the case, the pathology provider will issue a separate account, and queries about this should be issued be directed to the provider. Some tests do not attract a Medicare rebate.

Some services do not attract a Medicare rebate.

These include fees for items and services including repeat or lost prescriptions and request forms, certain consumable items and medical treatments provided by the practice (such as Cantharidine and DCP).

If fees are not paid in a timely manner (on the day of consultation, or soon thereafter for some procedures), no further appointments can be made until account is settled.

If accounts are overdue by more than 30 days formal debt recovery measures will be instituted.

Appointments are confirmed by SMS or phone 2-3 days before the appointment. If you fail to attend a fee may be added to your account, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

If you cancel an appointment without reasonable notice (less than 24 hours) on more than one occasion you will be required to prepay if another appointment is booked.

If you have any queries about fees please ask the practice staff for further information.

If you would prefer not to pay private consulting and treatment fees, please let your referring doctor know as they have the option of referring you to a public hospital dermatology clinic. Private health insurance does not cover any appointments or procedures.

Communication

If you ring the practice during office hours (Monday to Friday 9.00am-4.00pm approximately) and staff are unable to take your call, you can leave a voice message. This is sent as an email to the practice. We endeavour to listen to voice messages in a timely way, however if your issue is not urgent it may take 2-3 days to check and respond to you.

If your problem is an emergency please do not leave a message, but contact your GP, go to the Emergency Department or call 000 depending on the urgency.

If you ring the practice after hours it is not possible to leave a message.

The email service used by this practice is non secure and unencrypted. There are risks to your privacy using email to communicate with the practice staff or doctors. You will need to provide written consent that you understand and accept this before any email communication can be undertaken.

Very limited clinical advice can or will be provided via email. Any advice provided via email by the doctor will be of a general nature only. Diagnoses can be difficult or impossible to make with a description of the problem. Photographs may be useful but often because of suboptimal quality it is not possible to make an assessment.

Email may not be accessed or checked for 2-3 days at a time, so email should not be used for any urgent situation. If this is the case, the practice should be contacted by phone. If staff are unavailable to take your call or the practice is closed, you should contact your general practitioner, or if an emergency you should attend the Emergency Department at your nearest hospital.

A record of email communication may be stored in your medical file.

The practice staff or doctors may need to contact you via SMS to confirm an appointment, send a reminder about a test, or communicate normal test results. Your written consent is needed to be able to do this

Expected Behaviour

In an effort to provide a safe and healthy environment for staff, visitors, patients and their families, Drummond Dermatology expects visitors, patients and accompanying family members to refrain from unacceptable behaviour that is disruptive or pose a threat to the rights or safety of other patients or staff.

Drummond Dermatology is committed to providing a high quality of care to our patients. The relationship between the patients and those working in the surgery is an important issue and is a two-way process.

Therefore, in order to protect both the staff and other patients, we have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy.

The following inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated:

  • Loud and intrusive conversation or other noise including playing music on devices.
  • Offensive language, verbal abuse, swearing or psychological abuse
  • Sexual harassment and sexual assault.
  • Offensive remarks of a racial, sexual or personally derogatory nature.
  • Invasion of personal space.
  • Talking on mobile phones in the waiting room or during the doctor patient consultation.
  • Physical assault, including unsuccessful contact.
  • Damage to practice property or that of other patients.
  • Reckless behaviour that could result in harm to others.
  • Inappropriate behaviour involving alcohol or substance misuse.
  • Discussing medical practice staff on social media forums.
  • Taking photos or videos of practice staff or the practice setting without express permission from the practice.

Such behaviour has a marked effect on staff and other patients and therefore, where such behaviour is observed, we reserve the right to withdraw from treating the patient and ensuring removal of those involved from the premises. If staff feel threatened verbally or physically, the police will be called.

A patient displaying any of the above behaviours may be removed from our patient list, resulting in terminating the doctor/patient relationship.

We reserve the right to cancel any future scheduled appointments if the patient does not abide by this policy.

Teaching

Accredited registrars of The Australasian College of Dermatologist attend the practice once weekly. These are doctors in their final stages of specialist training. Please inform the reception if you do not wish to see the registrar.

If you do see the registrar, this is for initial assessment only. You will still see Dr Drummond as normal.

Drummond Dermatology

Suite 16, Francis Chambers
40-42 Corinna St, Phillip ACT 2606

P: +61 2 5114 2682
F: +61 2 5114 2684
contact@drumderm.com.au

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