Frequently Asked Questions
Mental Health Emergency Services
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have done further specialised training in psychiatry and are usually fellows of the Royal Australian/ New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Psychiatrists treat a variety of complex and serious mental illnesses and may prescribe medication, together with psychological treatment.
People are often confused about who they need to see and what the difference is between a psychiatrist and psychologist and the services they offer.
Psychiatrists are trained medical specialists, meaning they obtain a medical degree before going on to specialise. They offer treatments, which may include, general medical care (checking your physical health, physical effects of medication), mental health help, medication, psychological treatments and brain stimulation therapies (such as, electroconvulsive therapy or transcranial magnetic stimulation). Psychiatrists usually assess and treat a range of severe and complex mental disorders.
Psychologists are professionals that have undertaken highly specialised training in the diagnosis and psychological treatment of mental, behavioural and emotional disorders.
A psychologist may hold a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) and be called "doctor"; but, is not a medical doctor (M.D.).
If you are unsure whether you should see a psychiatrist or psychologist, talk to your general practitioner. They can give you advice about whether a psychiatrist or psychologist is right for you. This usually depends on your particular symptoms and the type of treatment you need. It may also depend on what treatment has already been tried.
You will need a valid referral from your GP before an appointment can be booked with one of our psychiatrists. A referral from your GP is usually valid for 12 months. This referral can be faxed or emailed to us.
Upon receipt of your referral, our reception staff will contact you to make an appointment. To ensure this occurs as soon as possible, please ensure the contact details on your referral are up to date.
Please feel free to contact us at anytime to enquire about the progress of your referral.
For most people, coming to see a psychiatrist for the first time can be a little intimidating. Our reception staff are there to help you through the process as much as possible so please feel free to contact us with any queries or requests.
Your first appointment is usually approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Your doctor will spend this time getting important and relevant history from you so he or she can discuss a treatment plan with you at the end of this time. Depending on your particular circumstances, your doctor may need to spend more time gathering information at a further appointment.
You may have a lot to talk about, or have a lot of questions to ask. To ensure these are addressed, it may help to jot them down before the first session and bring them along.
Please remember to bring your doctor’s referral to your first appointment. It is important to ensure that we receive these referrals, as this enables you to claim a rebate from Medicare.
Please also bring along any previous correspondence and assessments by previous health professionals. If you are already taking medication, it may well be helpful to bring it with you.
After your first visit, your ongoing appointments might be shorter. Your treating doctor will focus on checking your progress and adjusting treatments as necessary. Much like the first appointment, if you have a lot to talk about or have any questions for your doctor, it may help to jot them down and bring them along. Providing you have a valid GP or specialist referral; all subsequent appointments will attract a Medicare rebate.
Due to the costs associated with running a private medical practice, our practice does not bulk bill. The cost of your appointment will vary depending on the length and nature of the session. A significant Medicare rebate is available with our Psychiatrists, provided you have a current referral at the time of consultation. A General Practitioner can provide a 12-month or an indefinite referral to a Psychiatrist, depending on your needs. Please contact our reception staff to obtain the cost of your appointment.
The Medicare Safety Net means that the Government will meet 80% of out of pocket costs for all medical services (including appointments with a psychiatrist) delivered out of hospital after an individual or family has spent $2030.00 in out of pocket fees (or $647.90 if you are a concession card holder or family receiving family tax benefit (A)) in a calendar year.
If you become involving in ongoing treatment, this will substantially reduce the costs of seeing a psychiatrist. Although you will still pay the same amount for your appointment, Medicare will refund 80% of your costs.
To receive this benefit you must be registered for the safety net (either as an individual or family). A registration form can be filled in and lodged with Medicare. We strongly recommend this.
For more information regarding the Medicare safety net visit their website at https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/medicare-safety-net
Prior to your first appointment, it will not be possible for your psychiatrist to provide you or your child with treatment advice or after-hours support.
However, after your initial appointment, your psychiatrist will offer you a comprehensive level of support. This may include after-hours support and/ or inpatient (hospital) care. This will differ with individual doctors within the practice.
If you need immediate HELP, please contact your GP or present to your nearest emergency department/hospital
As you can understand it is nearly impossible for a psychiatrist to book in a new patient at very short notice. A late cancelled appointment is a loss to :
- The patient who is delaying their therapy progress
- Another patient who is on the waiting list to see the psychiatrist urgently
Our clinic policy is as follows:
- A minimum of 24 hours’ notice is required to cancel your appointment and you will not incur a fee (unless your appointment is on a Monday where you will need to contact the clinic by 12pm Saturday to cancel your appointment without penalty)
- Cancelling an appointment within 24 hours incurs a fee equivalent to your consultation fee which will be charged and required to be paid when you call to cancel your appointment. This cannot be claimed back through Medicare.
- Cancelling an appointment due to illness under 24 hours from your appointment will incur a fee of 50% of your consultation fee.
- If you are unable to attend your appointment and you do not let the clinic know, you will incur the full fee of your consultation.
- In the interests of fairness, fees these apply to all patients and cannot be altered by the practice manager or reception staff.
- If you have cancelled or missed an appointment it is your responsibility to contact Oxford Clinic to reschedule
- If you miss two or more appointments in a row, your doctor will try to contact you by phone. If we are unable to contact you, we will send you a letter and we will assume that you are well and no longer require our services.
- If you wish to end treatment, we at Oxford Clinic request that you discuss this with your doctor rather than simply failing to show up.
- Doctors are required to inform the Principal Psychiatrist of recurrent late cancellations or missed appointments.
Please provide 2 business days’ notice in the event you wish to cancel your appointment. By giving us notice of your cancellation, you allow another patient in need on our waiting list to have the chance of a Specialist Appointment.
Refer cancellation policy. Another appointment will not be booked unless the fee is paid (or extenuating circumstances grant a waiver).
There is always an opportunity to be seen earlier by one of our doctors if we have a cancellation.
Our practice only accepts debit cards or credit cards. We do not accept cheques or cash.
Our clinic is not a crisis service and due to the high demand for our doctors we can only contact you during business hours. We will however, do our best to offer support to you as quickly as we can during business hours. If you do feel at risk, call Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call-back Service (1300 659 467) for support if you are feeling suicidal. In an emergency, please dial 000. We have also developed the following resource to assist you to access the appropriate afterhours service until you see one of our doctors.
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