Medical Clinic

About the Medical Program Unit

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) 2020 vision is “Creating and inspiring healthy Aboriginal people and families through quality, effective community health services, education and training.

VAHS will achieve this with a flexible approach that is innovative, embraced by community and sets a standard as a Centre for Excellence for Aboriginal Health internationally

The objectives of the VAHS Medical Clinic are to :

· To promote, improve and support the quality of life of the Community.
· To provide a holistic approach to the physical wellbeing of the person, the family and the Community in a culturally appropriate way.

The aim of the VAHS Clinical unit is to provide health care, assessments, understanding and education to the Aboriginal Community through:

· Providing support to patients
· Advocating on behalf of the patient with Doctors and Specialists
· Conducting patient health checks
· Providing outreach and promoting the philosophy of the VAHS.
· Providing health promotion and education to Individuals and groups

The service operates 5 days per week and on Saturdays between the hours of 9.30am and 12.30pm for patients with emergencies.

VAHS has a Locum Doctor Service set up for after-hours patient requirements. If you need a Doctor after hours call 9419 3000 and select option 2 you will automatically go through to the Locum Service. Or alternatively dial 132 660.

Statistics 2012/ 2013

Individual Clients Seen
Female 1,873
Male 1,614
Total 3487

Episodes of care

Individual Clients Seen
Female 19,0155
Male 14,56743
Total 33,582

Appointments:

Appointments are 1/2 an hour in duration and can be made by phone or in person at the Medical reception desk. If you require an appointment longer than the 1/2 hour allocated please speak to the Medical receptionist to organise this. No appointments will be available on Thursday mornings between 9am and 10.30 due to regular staff meetings. Patients who make an appointment and are then unable to attend are encouraged to inform reception of any cancellation.

Medical patients without appointments can be seen through our Duty Doctor system that caters for emergencies, “sick-on-the-day” and non-appointments; however emergencies will be given priority and all patients for the Duty Doctor will triaged upon need. The Duty Doctor operates between 8:30am to 4pm Monday-Thursday & 8:30am to 3pm on Friday’s.

The Medical appointment system is helpful to patients who work, have a chronic disease or require regular visits to their Doctor of choice, as this assists with continuity of care. If you have any queries about making an appointment please contact the Medical receptionist or the Clinic Team Leader or Manager

Weekends

The Medical Clinic is open on a Saturday between the hours of 9:30am and 12:30pm. This is for patients with an emergency and/or for Pharmacy scripts. Only one Health Worker, one Doctor and a Receptionist work on this day.

Patients are encouraged to visit the clinic during the week for routine care. During the week all Medical team members are available to assist the patient with more comprehensive healthcare where they have time to manage, provide, refer and support all areas of the patient’s needs. 

The contact number for Medical reception is

(03) 9419 3000 Option 1.

Receiving & Returning Telephone calls

The following process is involved when a call is received from a patient requesting to speak to a Doctor or another member of the Medical Team;

Call for Non-Medical Staff Member

The call is directed through to that person whenever possible, or the caller is advised that the staff member is not available. The caller is then given the option of speaking to another staff member or a message is taken and forwarded to the relevant staff member.

Call for Doctor

You’re phone call will be triaged in the following manner:

  • Urgent requests – will be directed through to the Treatment Room where an Aboriginal Health Worker and/or Nurse will triage the request and if deemed urgent they will interrupt the GP and/or direct the call to the Duty Doctor
  • Non-urgent – scripts, results etc; will be put through to the Treatment Room where an Aboriginal Health Worker and/or a Nurse will assist with the request.
  • Specific Doctors – If the Doctor is present on the day, the call will logged as a “Phone Consult” and the Doctor, dependent upon how busy they are, will return the call when they are free and/or at the end of the day. If the request is for a Doctor who is not working that day, the caller will be advised and a message will be taken and put into their respective pigeon holes for follow-up.

Home visits:

Home visits are available in some circumstances. Before a home visit is made by the Medical team, they will make an assessment of the reason for the request for a home visit to decide if a home visit is appropriate or more urgent action, such as calling an ambulance and going to hospital is required. When a home visit is made by the Medical team it will usually involve a Doctor and an Aboriginal Health Worker.

Fees:

VAHS is a bulk billing service. It is important that all patients have an updated Medicare card to enable direct charging to Medicare. Patients who incur any charges outside of the VAHS are to pay their own costs. Those patients, who incur costs through referrals to external Specialists and/or the Allied Health Sector, are required to pay their own costs.

Referrals:

Referrals are required if a patient needs to see a Specialist. Often the Doctor will do the referral and if it’s to an external Specialist, wherever possible, the referral will be to a bulk billing specialist, but this will not always be the case.

The VAHS has a number of visiting medical specialists including a; General Surgeon, Cardiac Surgeon, Ophthalmologist, Geriatrician, Gynecologist, Dermatologist.

Referrals also occur for other Programs Units within VAHS.

Confidentiality:

Whilst you are a patient of VAHS, all efforts will be made to ensure your personal information remains confidential. Information is not given to a third party unless specified by the patient in writing. If you want your information transferred from another Doctor/surgery to VAHS you will be asked to sign a release of information form and vice versa if you have decided to see a Doctor that is not part of the VAHS. VAHS encourages any patient to inform VAHS staff immediately if they have any concerns relating to the privacy of their medical records.

The VAHS keep electronic (computer) medical records to store your information. The computer system has security restrictions which prevent unauthorised staff or anybody else from accessing patient’s clinical information.

Patient rights:

If any patient or visitor to the VAHS has a grievance with the procedures, staffing or with other patients within the VAHS it is advised that you contact the VAHS administration ASAP and discuss your concerns. Patients also have the right to contact the Health Commissioner if they feel their health care has not been sufficient.

Health Services Commissioner via Phone: 8601 5222 or www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc

Hours:

The Medical Clinic operates Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm and Friday 8:30am to 4pm – Saturday 9:30am to 12:30pm

VAHS has a Locum Doctor Service set up for afterhour’s patient requirements. If you need a Doctor after hour’s call 9419 3000 and select option 2 you will automatically go through to the Locum Service. Or alternatively dial 132 660

If it’s an emergency, dial 000 for an Ambulance

Transport:

The VAHS has three Medical drivers who support those patients who have a Medical appointment and whom do not have their own means of transport or are severely unwell.

The criteria for using the Medical pick up service are;

  • Patient’s must live, but are not limited to, within 30km of the VAHS
  •  Pickups for appointments—Contact must be made the day before the appointment
  •  Hospital appointments (where the VAHS has referred you) – Contact must be made the day before the appointment
  •  If picked up, once you have seen the Doctor please be available for the drivers to take you home
  •  If you have made a booking for transport and you are not going to be at home or no longer wish to be picked up, please inform Medical reception ASAP

Please be advised that disruptive and or unruly behavior whilst inside the VAHS vehicle will not be tolerated. This type of action could mean your transport may be forfeited or you will not receive further transport.

Click here to read our Transport Policy in full

New Services

Duty Doctor System:

Medical patients without appointments can be seen through our Duty Doctor system that caters for emergencies, “sick-on-the-day” and non-appointments; however emergencies will be given priority and all patients for the Duty Doctor will triaged upon need. The Duty Doctor operates between 8:30am to 4pm Monday-Thursday & 8:30am to 3pm on Friday’s.

Doctor at Preston:

With the opening of the new VAHS site in Preston (corner of Plenty Road and High Street Preston), the Medical Unit are providing GP services 3 days per week, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday to the patients that frequent the services that operates out of our Preston site, this is mainly the patients of the Family Counselling Service.

In 2014 these GP services will be reviewed to ensure that they are operating effectively and servicing the needs of all the patients that visit our Preston site. Further changes/updates will be provided through our VAHS newsletters.

Visiting Medical Specialists:

The VAHS continues to have a range of Visiting Medical Specialists – Cardiologist, Gynecologist, Geriatrician, Ophthalmologist, General Surgeon and Ear Nose & Throat Surgeon – to provide services to patients instead of having to attend out-patient clinics in hospitals. These sessions are well attended by community members.

The VAHS will again review our list of Visiting Medical Specialists to ensure that they meet the needs of the community and the service. Some of the specialists that we are considering include; a Dermatologist (commenced December 2013); an Endocrinologist (Diabetes specialist); and a Liver specialist.

Download Patient Information Booklet – VAHS clincal info