Do I need a referral?
As this is a specialist medical practice, you will require a referral from your doctor to obtain your medicare rebate on your first and any subsequent consultations.
Does private medical insurance cover my consultation?
Australian private medical insurance is intended to cover inpatient (i.e. admitted to hospital) costs, but does not cover outpatient medical appointments. Depending on your cover, your insurance may help subsidize certain non-PBS medications.
How long is my referral valid?
Referrals from a general practitioner are valid for 12 months. Referrals from another specialist are valid for 3 months. Subsequent consultations for the same condition are covered during this period. A new referral is required after this period has elapsed, or if you wish to see the dermatologist regarding a new unrelated condition. (see referrals).
My rash comes and goes. I am worried that it won't be present at the time of my appointment. What can I do to ensure I get the most from my appointment?
- Please keep your consultation as booked, as your dermatologist may be able to make a provisional diagnosis based on history, or may be able to suggest appropriate investigations and management to help diagnose and treat your condition. If your dermatologist feels it necessary to see you with the rash present, after your initial consultation, your dermatologist can arrange to fit you in on the day your condition flares.
- Photographs of your condition can be very useful. Ensure that you have good light (outdoor light is usually best). For close-up photographs to show detail, the macro function (usually designated with a flower symbol) is usually needed. Showing the evolution of your rash over hours or days can be very useful.
- Keep a diary of your condition, in particular, whether you notice anything which might trigger and also improve it.
What is a dermatologist?
Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of skin disease and skin cancers.
Dermatologists are initially trained as doctors, undertaking six or more years of university study to gain their medical degree. This is followed by a minimum of 2 years of full-time practice and training in a teaching hospital as a junior hospital doctor. Application can then be made to enter a five-year training program in dermatology. Some trainees undertake further research and study, obtaining Master of Medicine or PhD degrees.
Once accepted into the program, the advanced training in dermatology involves at least a further four years of intensive study, research and practice in approved training centres in Australia and overseas. Early in the training program, trainees are required to successfully complete the Clinical Sciences examination. Near the end of the training program, trainees undertake both written and clinical components of the Fellowship examination. After passing the Fellowship examination and having completed the training program satisfactorily, a trainee is recommended for Fellowship of the Australasian College of Dermatologists (FACD). In total, it usually takes a minimum of 11 years of medical training to become a Dermatologist.
Once qualified as a dermatologist, many fellows travel to specialist centres overseas to gain post-Fellowship training or be involved in clinical and experimental research. Furthermore, dermatologists maintain their professional standards and develop new skills through participation in continuing professional development program monitored by the Australasian College of Dermatologists.
Dermatologists treat patients of all ages, from babies and children to adolescents and adults. Australian dermatologists spend much of their time treating diseases caused by exposure to the sun. These include skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. However, diseases of the skin are many and varied. A typical dermatologist also treats acne, eczema, skin infections, psoriasis, occupational dermatitis, hair and nail disorders, as well as cosmetic problems of the skin.
What should I bring to my appointment?
- Your referral.
- Your Medicare card.
- Your completed enrolment forms and questionnaire.
- Any biopsy tests, blood tests, other test results, past documentation, X-rays, etc, that might relate to your consultation.
- Any photographs of your condition, esp if it comes and goes
When should I see a dermatologist?
Your general practitioner (or sometimes another specialist) may refer you to see a dermatologist if they would like assistance with the diagnosis of an uncertain skin condition bothering you, or if assistance with the treatment of your skin condition is required.