This practice has strict guidelines on confidentiality, patient consent, consent for a 3rd party to obtain information, transferring of health information and access and security of personal information.
It adheres to The National Privacy Principles Act and the Health Records and Information Act.
There are multiple ways in which the practice communicates with patients and third parties.
Communication can occur through the following channels:
Face to face
This can be via consultation with your doctor or nurse or interactions with other staff members. i.e.: Practice Manager or reception staff.
Patients are able to contact the practice via telephone between the hours of Monday- Friday 7am-11pm, Weekends & Public Holidays 8:00am -11:00.
As the first point of contact, receptionists must review the triage support guide to ensure they are correctly assessing patient’s needs and concerns. Receptionists will often need to ask questions to determine that the patient receives the most appropriate care, at the most appropriate time.
Phone calls from patients requesting to speak to the doctor will not generally be put through at the time of the call. This is to minimise disruption to the doctor as they are usually in consultation with another patient and respectfully not wanting to interrupt their consultation. Doctors may take phone calls if time permits.
Reception staff will ask the patient to briefly explain the reason for the call and will determine if the doctor should be interrupted or if a message can be given to the doctor to return the call at a later time. This may be throughout the day or after the doctor has finished consulting for the day. Where clinically significant information is discussed, a note will be made in the patient’s file.
Faxes received that are patient related are imported directly into the Doctor’s inbox which is then put into the patient’s file. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. Any urgent patient related faxes are immediately handed to the doctor or if that doctor is not available another doctor in the practice will review the fax. All non-patient related faxes are given to the relevant staff member.
All outgoing faxes will be sent to the relevant place on request from the doctor and then saved into the patients file with a note detailing where it was sent and by whom.
Email is not a secure form of communication and we do not use this to communicate personal information to patients without their consent. Whilst we make every effort to keep your information secure it is important for patients to be aware of the risks associated with electronic communication, in that the information could potentially be compromised and accessed by someone other than the intended recipient. Patients must be aware that any communication they direct to the surgery via email is also NOT secure and confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Patients communicating through email do so at their own risk.
If you do choose to contact the surgery via email this will be considered as patient consent to reply via email.
We endeavour to reply to all emails within 1 business day. Our emails are checked on a regular basis, however they are not constantly monitored. If you have an issue that requires urgent attention, we request that you contact the practice via telephone.
SMS messages are sent for a variety of health management purposes.
These may include:
– Appointment reminders – a reminder message will be sent the day prior to your appointment.
– Health reminders (e.g., cervical screening/care plans/Immunisations etc).
We need to ensure that your mobile number is up to date at each visit to ensure that this information is sent to the correct number. Patients must be aware that if another person can access their mobile phone, then the confidentiality of these communications cannot be protected by the practice.
Letters are often sent offering services available to eligible patients and for health reminders and recalls for patients who do not have a mobile number or who have opted out of our electronic messaging system.
Incoming mail is collected and opened each day. Letters received that are patient related are directly imported to the doctor’s inbox which is then saved to the patient’s file. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. All remaining letters are provided to the addressee.
Our Facebook page updates practice information and health promotions.
This page however, is intended for announcements only by Harvest Lakes Medical Centre and not for the provision of individual medical advice. This page is not regularly monitored for comments. If you have any queries or questions, we ask that you please contact the practice via telephone.
Your doctor or the Practice Nurse will attempt to contact you immediately via contact details supplied. If our attempts at contact are unsuccessful, a letter will be forwarded to your address to contact us urgently for an appointment.
Your doctor or the Practice Nurse will attempt to contact you via phone to advise that you need to make an appointment to see your doctor. If our attempts to contact you are unsuccessful, a letter will be forwarded to your address to contact us for an appointment.
If your results are NORMAL we will NOT contact you. You are welcome to phone us to check if your results have been returned to us, but you will have to make an appointment to discuss these results.
Patients are contacted for recalls and reminders. If our attempts are unsuccessful a letter will be forwarded to your address to contact us for an appt.
Confidential information is not included in these letters. All personal information is stored on a program specific, encrypted computer database.
The practice is committed to supporting the doctors, nurses and administration staff to participate in ongoing education.
Did Not Attend (DNA) & Cancellation Policy
Due to high demand for appointments and the high number of non-attendance and cancellations for GP appointments, we will charge a fee of $40 per consultation or if a double consult, a fee of $80, that is not attended or not cancelled within 4 hours of the appointment time.
If this account is not paid, a letter of suspension of services and the outstanding account will be issued. This letter will see access to all services suspended until accounts are paid.
We have many requests for appointments everyday and hope by introducing this policy, patients will consider cancelling their appointments so that others may access them if required.
If you have any concerns, please ask the reception staff.
Home Visits and Out of Hours Services
Our doctors can provide home visits, enquiries can be made by talking to one of our friendly receptionists however, the provision of these visits are at the discretion of the treating doctor. If for any reason our doctor is unable to come and see you and you can’t come in to the practice, please contact Dial-A-Doctor (Bulk-Billed Locum Service) on PH: 1300 030 030.
Harvest Lakes Medical Centre does offer a walk-in service with some exceptions. The wait time for walk-ins varies and depends on how on time the Doctors are running. Please note we will refuse walk-ins if the Doctors are running late and do not have the capacity to fit in walk-In patients. Same day appointments are available within our opening hours. To book an appointment you can call the surgery, or you can come in and enquire when the next appointment is available. You can book appointments online via our websites or via Health Engine.
Your feedback is important to us and Patient Feedback forms are available at reception. Alternatively, forward your comments to email@example.com
If for any reason you are not satisfied with the service you have received and do not wish to discuss this with us, the following information is for the state health complaint agency: