Do I need a referral to see a specialist? When visiting a specialist, a current and valid referral is required. This enables the referring doctor, usually your general practitioner, to outline the reason for the referral. This will facilitate your specialist consultation and enable your medical or surgical problem to be properly addressed and managed. A current and valid referral will also allow you to claim back any rebates from Medicare. Without a referral, you will not be able to receive a Medicare rebate following your specialist consultation. A referral will last for 12 months if written by a general practitioner and for 3 months if written by another specialist. In some cases, the referring doctor may indicate a different time period.
If I need an operation, will there be a waiting list? This will depend on the urgency of the operation. If the operation is urgent or even semi-urgent, it will be done in a reasonable time frame as decided by your specialist. However if the operation is purely elective, privately insured patients should be able to choose their surgery date (or close to it) and non-insured patients will go on a waiting list at the public hospital attended by their specialist. The standard of care should not be different with either system. In this setting private health insurance serves to provide patients with control over their surgical dates and choice of surgeon.
Will I have pain after my operation? Pain is to be expected after most operations. Some operations are more painful than others and it is important to be prepared. The importance of regular pain relief would have been discussed before your operation. The strength of the pain-killers needed depending on the type of operation would also have been addressed.
What is a fibreoptic nasendoscope? This is a flexible telescope that can be used to examine the nose and voice-box in detail. It may be necessary to use it for some consultations as a diagnostic tool. Fibreoptic nasendoscopy may be an uncomfortable procedure but it should not be painful. A local anaesthetic is first sprayed into the nose. After waiting for a couple of minutes the scope is gently passed into the nose while the patient remains sitting upright. The entire upper airway from the nose to the top of the voice-box can be examined in this manner. The patient does not have to fast for this procedure.
If my child needs to be in hospital overnight, can I stay with him/her? Absolutely. A bed will be set up next to your child so you can sleep next to him/her. This will help your child during the hospital stay. It will also help us to provide care in a more familiar environment for your child. The aim is to provide the most positive hospital experience that we can, given the circumstances. For more information about your child's stay in hospital please visit ENT for Kids.