Appointment Policy

 

  • Our booking system allows us to be flexible when scheduling an appointment to suit your health care needs, whether your needs are urgent or non urgent.

  • We offer standard, complex or prolonged appointments which can be made with your preferred GP.

  • 'On Day' appointments are available, however they may not be with your usual doctor. Our doctors take a team care approach to your health and will liaise with each other if necessary.

  • Please discuss your healthcare needs with our reception staff, as they are trained to assist you in determining the most appropriate length and timing of your consultation.

 

Home Visits:

Each doctor has a designated time allocated for home visits to patients who are unable to attend the practice.

 

Procedures:

If you require a procedure, it is very important to inform our reception staff when booking your appointment, as these are time-specific appointments.

 

Appointments for Family Members:

Each family member requires an individual appointment, (one appointment per family member).

 

Third Parties in Appointments:

If a third party is to be present during your appointment, we will ask for your consent. Our practice is a teaching and training practice, and often has medical students on short-term placements. You are free to consent or decline to have a medical student present.

 

Patient's Usual Doctor:

If you request your preferred doctor, our reception staff will endeavor to book you in.  Alternatively, you will be advised of the availability of the other doctors at our practice.

 

Cancellation and No-Shows:

We monitor and mark all cancellations and no-shows in our appointment system, including attempts to contact the patients. This information is recorded in the patient's notes.

 

Recall Appointments:

These are marked in red on our appointment system, and you will be advised that the appointment is a Recall.

Reception staff will follow up patients who do not arrive/attend.

These appointments will not be changed without the reception informing the doctor, due to their high importance, and , if the appointment is able to be rescheduled, it will again be marked in red.

Why red,? Because this signals to all staff the importance of the appointment.

 

 

 

Follow up of Tests, Results and Referrals Policy

 

When ordering diagnostic tests:

  • At least 3 identifying questions are asked to ensure the correct patient is receiving the correct test.

  • Patients are given all the appropriate information in regard to why and how the tests will be performed so an informed decision about the investigation, referral or test can be made.

  • We advise our patients when tests are ordered,  outlining the following;

         - the significance of the investigations, results  or referral, and any costs.

         - how to obtain results,  and who is responsible for follow up.

 

 

Review of all results, reports and clinical correspondence received:

  • Reception and nursing staff receiving results, reports and correspondence that have not already been directly downloaded in to our clinical software, scan all correspondence into the appropriate doctors inbox for checking before it is transferred into the clinical notes.

  • If a Doctor is not on duty,  the inbox is directed to another doctor in our practice on that day.

  • If pathology services etc. need to contact our Doctors outside normal workings hours, they are contacted on their mobiles.

  • When the Doctor checks the inbox they either:

          - choose "no action" if nothing is to be followed up

          - choose "non-urgent appointment" if they wish to see the patient with in the next few weeks, or if they have a comment to be                 given to the patient (this list is printed weekly by reception and patients called).

          - choose "urgent appointment" if the patient is required to be seen within the week, and details regarding urgency are listed.                    This list is printed daily by reception.

           - This list is also used if a patient needs antibiotics or further test performed before review.

  • Clinical reasons for test orders are put on the request. If these were ordered by another Doctor, the patient notes can be viewed. 

  • Selection of "non-urgent" appointment or "urgent" appointment with the appropriate message will indicate how quickly the follow-up is required.

 

 

Communicating with patients about tests, results and referrals:

  • When a test is requested, the patient is asked to make an appointment for a follow-up after the test is done. If marked "urgent", they are requested to call that afternoon.

  • Each patient is informed about the expected time frame for getting tests, investigations, appointments with specialists or allied health providers, at the time of the request.

  • When a patient calls or we call them for a result, we firstly identify the patient and give the patient the doctors comment on the test. If the patient requires more information they are given an appointment.

  • When the patient is given a result, it is marked as 'notified' in the patient's clinical notes. Any further instructions are also documented.

  • If a test has been received and is urgent, the doctor may call the patient directly, and phone call details are documented.

 

 

Identification for follow-up of clinically significant investigations and referrals that have been ordered:

  • Doctors regularly check their inboxes,  and also regularly check for outstanding requests.

  • If the result received is marked "urgent" the doctor is called by the provider of the tests, after which the patient is notified to come in for an appointment.

  • We have a recall system that is reviewed and followed up weekly by our practice nurse.

  • The level of follow-up will be entered by the referring Doctor. If "urgent",  it will be followed up on the same day. Otherwise it will be followed-up within the next week.

 

 

Our recall system for patients with clinically significant results, reports and clinical correspondence:

  • To contact patients,  we phone at different times, and/or on different numbers. If unsuccessful,  we send a letter via registered mail.

  • The doctor will determine if the correspondence is urgent.

  • When a follow-up appointment is made,  the patient's  name is marked in red in the appointment book to indicate that they have been called in for a follow up. If the appointment is already made,  but results need to be followed-up,  the patient's name is marked red, or a message written.

  •  If, at the end of the day, the patient has not arrived, it is marked in the patients notes and then another appointment is made.

  • Whenever follow-up appointments are made or results are given,  it is documented in the patient's notes.

 

 

Privacy Policy

All patient information is private, and confidentiality of patient information must be maintained at all times. The rights of every patient are to be respected.  All information collected by this practice in providing a health service is deemed to be private and confidential.

 

This practice complies with Federal and State privacy regulations including the Privacy Act 1998, the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 as well as the standards set out in the RACGP Handbook for the Management of Health Information in Private Medical Practice 1st Edition (2002).  (Refer Section 6 Privacy and Security of Health Information).

 

Under no circumstances are employees of this practice to discuss or in any way reveal patient conditions or documentation to unauthorised staff, colleagues, other patients, family or friends, whether at the practice or outside it; such as in the home or at social occasions.  This includes patient’s accounts, referral letters, tests ordered, test results or any other clinical information. 

 

General Practitioners and staff are aware of confidentiality requirements for all patient encounters and recognise that significant breaches of confidentiality may provide grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal.

 

Every employee of this practice is aware of the privacy policy and has signed a privacy statement as part of their terms and conditions of employment.  This privacy statement continues to be binding on employees even after their employment has terminated.

 

Procedure:

All employees of this practice are issued with the privacy policy and sign a privacy statement as part of their terms and conditions of employment.  The policies and procedures of the practice are further explained during the induction of new staff members, and the induction form is signed by the new employee as confirmation that they understand and accept their obligations in relation to patient privacy and the confidentiality of medical information.  

 

Complaints Policy

Patients and others have opportunities to register their complaints either verbally to staff and/or the practice manager, in writing (letter) or via our suggestion box.  Patients should feel free to complain anonymously if desired.

 

All staff should be prepared to address complaints as they arise. 

When receiving complaints staff should keep in mind the following in order to minimise further patient anxiety and hostility, possibly leading to litigation:

  • handle all complaints seriously, no matter how trivial they may seem.

  • verbal complaints made in person should be addressed in a private area of the practice where possible.

  • use tactful language when responding to complaints.

  • don’t blame other staff. Patients may not have all the facts or may distort them. 

  • address the patient’s expectations regarding how they want the matter resolved.

  • assure the patient that their complaint will be investigated and the matter not overlooked.

  • offer the patients the opportunity to complete a formal complaint form. (They may accept or decline).

  • document or log all complaints and other relevant information and place this in the complaints folder for the attention of the designated complaints staff member, (even if you believe the matter has been resolved).

  • alert the doctor or relevant clinical staff about disgruntled or hostile patients so he/she can defuse the situation immediately.

  • always inform the designated complaints officer/ practice manager if you  become aware of any significant statements made by the patient or significant change in patient attitude. Often patients will tell staff when they are reluctant to tell the doctor.

  • Ensure documentation is recorded in the appropriate notes.

 

The practice has identified Noelle Dalgliesh (practice manager) to be the team leader responsible for feedback collection and analysis and handling complaints. Noelle coordinates the investigation and resolution of complaints. She will:

  • acknowledge the patient's right to complain

  • use the Acknowledgment of Complaint letter provided and respond to complaints in writing as soon as possible.

  • telephone the patient to let him/her know that she is working on the problem.

  • respond to all complaints promptly in an open and constructive manner including an explanation and, if appropriate, an apology.

  • work with the patient to resolve the problem, and communicate the outcome with the patient including any changes made as a result of the complaint.

  • refer the complaint to a doctor if it is of a medical nature. 

  • provide a staff member about whom a complaint has been made,  an opportunity to discuss the details in a private setting.

  • contact the practice's insurer when there is a complaint about a member of the clinical team, in order to seek advice on resolution before any action is taken.

  • ensure the complaint does not adversely affect the patent's care.

  • record the complaint, investigation, and actions, with a copy placed in the patient’s medical record if related to patient care, and the details also retained in the complaints file.

  • ensure, where appropriate, that complaints are reviewed at staff meetings.  Analyse trends and discuss the methods of resolution.  Other types of patient feedback - i.e. surveys, suggestion box are also reviewed at staff meetings 

  • maintain a record of improvements made in response to patient feedback or complaints, as evidence of quality assurance activity.

  • inform the patient, if appropriate,  about practice improvements made as a result of their input.

  • advise the patient on how to contact the Health Complaints commissioner, if the complaint cannot be resolved.

 

The National Privacy Commissioner is able to receive complaints concerning privacy issues.  Complaints here will have a response within 28 days.

 

National Privacy Commissioner

Privacy hotline 1300 363 992. 

GPO Box 5218

Sydney NSW 2001

http://www.privacy.gov.au/complaints

Members of the public may make a notification to Australian Health practitioner regulation agency (AHPRA) http://www.ahpra.gov.au/ (AHPRA) about the conduct, health or performance of a practitioner or the health of a student. Practitioners, employers and education providers are all mandated by law to report notifiable conduct relating to a registered practitioner or student to AHPRA.