Do I have to have a referral to see a Dermatologist ?
The answer is actually “NO”. One clear advantage of living in one of the great democracies on earth is the freedom to see anyone as one pleases.
A referral letter, however, is advisable for two main reasons :
(1) Any patients should see their own Family Doctor as the first point of contact. If your GP considers that a referral to a Specialist is appropriate, the referral letter would obviously serve as a very valuable means of communication.
(2) A Medicare rebate is only payable by Medicare if a valid referral letter accompanies a patient’s visit to see a Specialist.
When is a new referral needed ?
The valid period for a referral letter written by a General Practitioner is usually 12 months. A referral written by another Specialist is only valid for 3 months.
A referral is for the treatment of a specific skin condition for the following 12 months. Beyond the period of 12 months, even if treatment is still required for the same condition, a new referral is required.
This practice does NOT accept “indefinite” referral. We believe that your General Practitioner should remain your primary health care provider, looking after any chronic condition.
If a new problem has arisen, a new referral is required.
“I forgot to get a referral. Could I see the Dr first and go to get a referral from my GP tomorrow ?”
You could certainly still see your Dermatologist but would not be able to claim any rebate from Medicare. A referral is only valid for claiming Medicare rebate if it is obtained PRIOR to seeing your Specialist.
The following activities are simply illegal and fraudulent:
(1) asking your GP to back-date a referral
(2) asking your Specialist to put a date on the receipt which is not the date on which the referral was written