If you require an appointment as an outpatient, you will be advised by your GP, specialist doctor, other health professional or prior to discharge from hospital if you need ongoing care. This is called a referral.
How to book an outpatient appointment
- Your health professional will write referral letter with information about why you need the appointment.
- A health professional reviews the referral and prioritises your appointment based on this information.
- A letter will be sent to you with your appointment date or advising you that you are on a wait list.
- You may receive other letters relating to your appointment if necessary. For some Outpatient Clinics an SMS reminder will be sent if you have provided a mobile number.
- Sometimes you can refer yourself to be an outpatient if this individual clinic allows this option. Please contact the clinic for more information about how to self-refer.
Changing or cancelling your appointment
- It is important to keep your appointment for the best ongoing care and treatment of your medical condition.
- If you need to change or cancel an appointment, please contact the Outpatient Clinic that you will be attending to organise another appointment.
- Calling the Outpatient Clinic to cancel or change any appointments you cannot attend allows us to offer it to another patient and reduce waitlist times.
- If you fail to attend your appointment or notify the Outpatient Clinic, you may be discharged. This means that should you or your health professional request another appointment, a new referral letter is required.
What to do if you are on a waiting list
- If you are on a waiting list, you may wish to speak to the person who referred you to discuss other treatment options.
- If your condition changes or you have any health problems while waiting for your appointment, please see your GP or the person that referred you.
Preparing for your appointment
What to bring:
- the appointment letter you received in the mail from the Outpatient Clinic
- any relevant x-rays, scans (CT or ultrasound), blood tests or other test results
- a list of current medications
- reading glasses if you need them
- your Medicare card, private health insurance card, pension card (if you have one) and any other concession card you may hold
- any questions you may have – you may want to write these down prior to your appointment.
Attending your appointment
- Please arrive approximately 10 minutes prior to your appointment to check-in with reception staff.
- You will then be directed to the waiting area for your Outpatient Clinic.
- Please allow up to two hours for your appointment.
- Sometimes delays occur. This may be due to an unexpected longer appointment for another patient or if the health professional is urgently required elsewhere.
What to expect at your appointment
- Your health professional may ask specific questions about your health, wellbeing, medical condition and/or treatment.
- It is important to provide them with as much information as possible, even if you are unsure if it is relevant. This helps the doctor plan the best course of treatment for you.
- You may ask the health professional questions at any time. If you don't understand anything, please ask for it to be explained again.
- If you need a medical certificate for work or other reasons, please request one during your appointment.
How much your outpatient appointment will cost
- If you are an Australian resident and have your Outpatient Clinic appointments in a public hospital in Tasmania, it is usually covered by Medicare. This means there are no out-of-pocket expenses.
- Fees may apply if you are an overseas resident or pursuing a compensation claim.
- You may be charged for pharmacy items or medical supplies and equipment. If fees apply, you will be advised by that service. Please tell them if you hold a concession card as it may reduce any costs.
After your appointment
Following your appointment, you will need to check if you have:
- any follow-up outpatient appointments
- any medicines and prescriptions
- arrangements in place for any community support services
- any equipment or aids you need at home.
Your doctor will talk to you about your after-care. It is important you understand the after-care you need. This helps keep you well and helps to prevent any further medical problems.
Before you leave the hospital make sure that you:
- understand the treatment you were given and what care you require
- know what medicines you need to take and why
- know when you need to see a doctor again and who to see (your general practitioner, the specialist or outpatient clinic)
- ask if you need a medical certificate, a letter for your general practitioner or Work Cover information
- take all your belongings with you including any x-rays you brought into the hospital
- have made arrangements for your travel home.
Patients are responsible for making their own travel arrangements home. Only patients needing medical help, such as patients on oxygen, can be transported home by ambulance.
Make arrangements for someone to help you get home as soon as you know the date you will be leaving hospital. Alternatively taxi ranks are situated outside most major hospitals.
If specialist medical or dental services are not available in your local area then you may be eligible for financial help for travel and accommodation. Ask the hospital staff for information about Patient Travel Assistance Scheme.
- It may take some weeks or months to fully recover from an injury or surgery. Ask your doctor how long recovery should take so that you can plan for rest and rehabilitation and follow your doctor’s after-care advice.
- If you have any concerns about your health after you leave hospital, contact your general practitioner. If you suddenly become unwell, call the hospital ward and speak with the staff, or go to the hospital Emergency Department.
What if I have a compliment or concern about my hospital visit?
- If you have any feedback about your visit please let us know.
- While at the hospital, you can speak with the staff or ask to see a Patient Liaison Officer.
- After leaving the hospital, phone or write to the hospital.
Telehealth is a video appointment with your outpatient health professional and an easy way to have your appointment without having to travel to the clinic or hospital in person.
- You can have a telehealth appointment from your own home
- If you need help or don't have access to video conferencing, you can come to your local health centre or GP surgery for a telehealth appointment.
- You can ask family members, carers or friends to sit in on the appointment with you.
- Your health professional will decide if it is okay for you to have a telehealth appointment.
- If you need to have a physical examination, then you may need to attend in person.
Benefits of telehealth appointments
Having a telehealth appointment may:
- give you better access to healthcare
- make it easier for family or friends to attend appointments with you
- reduce your travel costs, time away from home or time you need to take off from work
How to book your telehealth appointment
Telehealth Tasmania provide you with help to make your appointment or if you need help to use the video link.
What if I can’t get telehealth or speak to my doctor?
- For free health advice 24-hours a day, please visit the HealthDirect website or call 1800 022 222.
- Healthdirect is a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice
Resources are also available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional and Vietnamese.