Frequently Asked Questions

Question:   Do I need to be referred to see a specialist?

Answer:    Yes. A letter from either your general practitioner, physiotherapist, sports doctor, specialist or other medical practitioner is required before you are consulted with.


Question:   What should I bring to my appointment?

Answer:    Please bring along any X-rays you have had prior or advise us where they were done and copies of the films can often be transferred to our system. Any images done at Pacific radiology can be viewed through our system. Bring any clinical notes related to your injury or condition along with information about any regular medication you take.


Question:    I have an ACC claim, will there be any cost for the appointment?

Answer:     No. As long as your claim has been approved, ACC will cover the total cost of the initial appointments. However, if surgery is required a separate application for funding is sent to ACC – these can take up to two months to be processed.


Question:    I have an ACC claim but can I use my private health insurance to ‘speed’ up the process with both appointments and surgery?

Answer:      Unfortunately not. ACC ends up working as a private insurer in the private health sector, having private medical insurance will not ensure a sooner appointment. If surgery is required, most health insurers will not provide you with prior approval until a decision has been made by ACC (either approved or declined).


Question:    I have recently injured myself, am I able to be seen as soon as possible?

Answer:     If you think your injury needs assessing urgently, you are best to go to the After Hours clinic in Newtown or A&E at Wellington Hospital. We do not offer an acute patient service. Due to the high demand for specialist appointments it is not uncommon to have up to a three month wait for an initial appointment.


Question:    What happens if ACC declines to cover me for surgery and I do not have private medical insurance?

Answer:     There are three options if this occurs. One option is that you can have the ACC decision reviewed (if appropriate), in this situation it is best to talk to your surgeon. Another is that you can self-fund your treatment/surgery, you would be responsible for paying 100% of the costs towards this. Lastly, your surgeon can refer you to be seen in the public system either at Kenepuru or Wellington Hospital where you can be placed on a wait list for an appointment.


Question:     I have some questions for my surgeon – when can I expect to get a response?

Answer:     Our surgeons are only based in the clinic between one to three times per week and are with patients during this time so responses to your queries may take some time, they will do their best to make a prompt response but this is not always possible. If it is an urgent matter, the receptionist will do their best to contact the surgeon or may be able to provide you with alternative options if required.


Question:     Are you part of the affiliated provider scheme (APS)?

Answer:      Yes.  All the surgeons are Affiliated Providers for Southern Cross Insurance for appointments.  If you are having either a total knee or hip replacement surgery (not including joint replacement revisions) or carpal tunnel surgery we do the application on your behalf to Southern Cross for cover. If you are not with Southern Cross or you are and are having a different procedure you will be required to organise prior approval.


Question:   Is Bowen Hospital the only location I can see the surgeon?

Answer:    All of the surgeons consult out of their rooms in the Bowen Centre at Bowen Hospital.  Some of our surgeons consult at Wakefield Specialist Centre.  They do offer surgical lists at Bowen Hospital, Southern Cross Hospital and Wakefield Hospital (depending on the surgeon) but this is only for surgeries.


Question:   If I am required to have an appointment for a medical clearance and a report is required should I expect a charge?

Answer:   Yes, unless whoever has requested the report agrees to cover the cost, there will be a charge for the appointment which involves examination and/or discussion, and also a cost for the surgeons time for writing the report. 


Question:  I have been waiting a long time for an appointment but now I am unwell, should I still just come to the appointment?

Answer:    We would appreciate it if you did not coming to an appointment if you are unwell, the surgeons are very busy people and taking time off anything in their full schedules, if they became sick, is almost impossible.  We will do our best to reschedule you to another date.  However it is very important you let us know as soon as possible, so we can schedule someone else into your appointment.


Question:  Do I have to wait as long to see the Surgeon after he has sent me to get scans/tests etc?

Answer:  No, initial consultations are longer appontments so that is why the waiting time is longer, history needs to be taken, discussions and examinations.  Seeing a surgeon for follow up still will have a waiting time, but not as long