Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to wear a face mask?
Currently, masks are optional unless you are unwell. Please attend the Fever Clinic for a COVID test before making an appointment. For more information, please click here.
Do you bulk bill?
We are a mixed billing practice, meaning that some people will have their costs covered entirely by Medicare whereas others will incur an out of pocket expense.
We bulk bill children under 16 and holders of a Health Care or Pension Card.
It is helpful to think of Medicare as your insurance company. They cover some things and not others. In the instance that a service is not covered by Medicare, we cannot offer bulk billing, even for concession card holders.
Why is the doctor sometimes running late?
At The Bright Side Clinic, a standard appointment is 15 minutes long. We are happy to accommodate longer appointments on request.
Sometimes, things happen that are unforeseeable. When we are nearing the end of an appointment and someone mentions a worrying symptom, or when is in need of comfort and support, we address that immediately. It is unavoidable that when this happens, the next person’s appointment time is impacted.
To help us to run on time for you, there are some things you can do:
- Be on time for your appointment
- Let the receptionist know when you arrive for your appointment
- Call and cancel if you can’t make it
- Book a double appointment if you have several things you need to talk about or one really complex thing.
I need a skin check – what happens? What happens if you find something?
Skin cancer is a serious issue for Australians and we should all be having regular skin cancer checks. You can also keep an eye on your skin and your partner’s by being alert for anything strange. Any new mole that you think looks odd or any old mole that you think is changing should be checked.
Not every skin cancer starts out as a mole, so anything that looks strange or is not getting better should be checked by a doctor who has the correct training and equipment.
A full skin check means just that – we check your ears, your scalp, between your toes, and the skin under your clothes. This will be discussed in detail at the beginning of your appointment, so feel free to ask any questions. Please have a shower on the morning of your skin check, and remember to wear underwear to your appointment.
If we find something unusual, what happens next depends on what we think it might be. Something serious like a possible melanoma will be removed on the spot. If we suspect a less serious type of skin cancer, removal of the lesion can be booked in the upcoming weeks. Sometimes a skin lesion will look suspicious but not definitely like one thing or another, so we might take a biopsy to have the lab tell us what it is. Removal of the lesion can then be planned.
Different lesions on different parts of the body require different surgical approaches. We are pleased to be able to offer a wide range of skin surgical services, from simple excisions though to rotational flaps and skin grafts. We do not, however, offer the full range of surgical options that a plastic surgeon can and we refer to plastic surgeons when needed.
When having a skin lesion removed, it is important to check the credentials of your doctor. Anything other than the most simple excision requires further training beyond being a ‘regular GP’, so don’t be afraid to ask your doctor what further qualification they have in skin cancer management.
Can your doctors provide implantable contraception (Implanon) or intrauterine devices (IUDs e.g. Mirena)?
We can insert and remove implantable contraception. These are not complicated procedures but a GP does have to undergo specific training to be able to provide these services.
Any of our doctors can discuss contraception options and help you find something that works for you.
While we do not offer IUD insertion, we can remove them. Insertion of a Mirena or other IUD requires referral to a gynaecologist or family planning clinic.
Why do you suggest I keep seeing the same doctor?
Having an ongoing relationship with the same doctor really helps both you and the doctor. We see our role as GPs as being someone who knows you and your health, and therefore can help you to negotiate any path you need to take – investigating new concerns, treating and referring appropriately, and leading a team-based care approach.
Sometimes, health is complicated and we don’t know the answer within one appointment or one blood test, and this is when you really see the value of longitudinal care with one doctor. Having said that, it doesn’t have to be one of our doctors! Doctors are just people. You probably don’t like every single person you meet so you don’t expect to like every doctor you meet. If you see our doctors and feel that we’re not for you, that’s ok! What matters most is you finding someone you trust.
This is a small practice – do you do everything a bigger GP practice does?
Yes, all that and more! Modern medicine has a patient-centred approach with a Bio-Psycho-Social model of care. This means that we consider not only what’s happening physically but how you’re feeling, what your beliefs are and your real-life situation when working with you to address your health needs.
What are the letters after a doctor’s name? Why are they different?
As with any qualification, professionals put the letters after their name to tell each other what their qualification is. It’s also there to inform you, but you need a key to decipher it.
First is usually a doctor’s actual medical degree, which is a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. This is abbreviated to BMBS – but only when someone completes graduate-entry medicine, meaning they did some other degree first. For those who did undergraduate medicine straight after year 12, they have ‘MBBS’ after their name. Unless they have their degree from somewhere other than Australia, in which case you will see something similar but with ‘Ch’ instead of ’S’ as some Universities use the latin word for surgery, chirurgia.
Next will be a doctor’s undergraduate degree, if it was not medicine. That will be a Bachelor of something, and the letters can make it easier to guess. BSc = Bachelor of Science. BHSc = Bachelor of Health Science. If (Hons) is after any degree, it means they graduated with Honours, which is usually awarded to the top 10% of the class.
Lastly will be a long string of letters that starts with F, this is to signify that the doctor is a Fellow of their relevant college – FRACGP stands for Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. This means that the doctor has fulfilled the training requirements and passed the exams of their specialty. A GP who does not have FRACGP after their name is either a Registrar which means they are still within the training program, or they are an older GP who is under the ‘grandfather clause’. Back in the good old days, you could walk out of medical school and open your doors as a GP. Then the RACGP was created but it was unfair to ask doctors to retrain for a job they already do and had been doing for years. Whether or not a GP is a Fellow of the College, they are required to undertake the same ongoing professional development to remain up to date.