If you have a preference, you can ask to be referred to a specialist of your choice. When choosing your child’s specialist consider:
Public consultations: some specialists consult in the Outpatients Department of public hospitals. There may be delays on busy days, and the length of the appointment may be limited. Public consultations are usually bulk billed.
Private consultations: you may see a specialist privately at his/her own rooms if you wish. In this case you have the advantage of being able to build a relationship with that person, and he/she can admit your child as a public patient if a hospital admission is required. With private appointments there are often shorter waiting times, appointments can be made sooner, and you have more choice of appointment times. Another advantage is that if you take your child to the emergency department, staff will phone your Consultant (or their representative) and liaise with them directly. Private consultations with specialists usually incur a charge, but some specialists may bulk bill in certain situations.
After an initial consultation, it is important to ask yourself, "Do I feel comfortable with this specialist?” and "Can I see us developing a good working relationship with him/her?” If for any reason you are not satisfied with the specialist your child is seeing, you are entitled to request a referral to a different specialist. This can be difficult for parents, who may feel embarrassed or concerned that such a request will impact on the potential treatment of their child. It is crucial that you have trust and confidence in your child's doctor as well as good communication. Remember that you are your child's advocate. It is vital that you are able to work in partnership with your child’s specialist to achieve the best health outcome for your child.
Your child may be referred to a paediatrician for an opinion on a particular problem and may only need a few consultations with a general paediatrician. Children with complex or chronic medical issues may need long term attention from a paediatrician. In this case it may be worth requesting a referral to a paediatrician specialising in child development and/or disability, who can co-ordinate treatment for all your child's ongoing medical needs.
08-Dec-2015 5:11 AM (AEST)