Carson Suite patient survey feedback

Blackburn Clinic Carson Suite surveyed 126 patients using a Practice Accreditation and Improvement Survey (PAIS). The PAIS is a well-established patient survey widely used by general practices across Australia to gather valuable feedback from patients, which informs meaningful quality improvement within the organisation.

98% of all patient rating about the Carson Suite were ‘good, very good or excellent’. There were 28 areas assessed by the survey and the results demonstrate that there are only two areas where we fell slightly below the benchmarked mean score and therefore, we should target for improvement. These are:

  • providing information to patients about fees
  • helping patients see the doctor of their choice.

In response to your feedback, we undertake to expand the amount of information on our websites regarding fees (there is a page on each website labelled FEES) and aim to do this by the end of June 2022. We also plan to install an information screen in the waiting room at the Carson Suite and will ensure fee information is included there. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has introduced many new item numbers with little warning and little opportunity for us to educate ourselves or our patients. These items were at times mandated by the government to be bulk-billed, sometimes only when our region was classified by the federal government as a Covid Hotspot, and sometimes only when the patient had been seen face-to-face at our clinic within the previous 12 months. In some cases patients were not eligible for telehealth consult item numbers at all and patients were therefore not eligible for any Medicare rebate. These item numbers and rules continue to evolve and our outside our control. Our doctors and staff have at times struggled to keep up with the speed of these changes (as have all general practices across Australia) and this has no doubt led to some confusion regarding fees among our patients. Remember the days when we mainly billed ‘standard’ or ‘long’ consults? These days we work through a labyrinth of eligibility criteria and rules before arriving at the correct item number to bill. Often these item numbers are dependent on medical conditions (for example, the patient has a ‘recent’ diagnosis of Covid-19 confirmed by RAT or PCR testing, or has a specific chronic condition) which means that only the GP can determine the relevant item number to bill AFTER providing the service. These situations make it difficult for the reception team to predict the billing and therefore, to inform the patient about the probable costs when the appointment is booked. We empathise with patients and understand that uncertainty around fees can be stressful for patients. Patients are encouraged to discuss any financial difficulties with their GP.

As one survey respondent wrote, “the problem with having a great doctor is that they are busy and getting an appointment can be difficult”. Seeing the doctor of your choice can be difficult when that doctor is very popular, very busy, and perhaps does not work full-time. This problem was also identified in 2019 when Blackburn Clinic and Blackburn Specialist Centre patients were surveyed. We continue to train staff to offer appointments with the usual GP as the first option, as well as the option of seeing a different doctor sooner if the wait for the usual doctor is not ideal. Back in 2019 we recommended that every patient choose a “back-up doctor” from the quality group of GPs available here:  “that way you can get to know a second doctor, so that when your first choice isn’t available you can still see someone familiar. In an ideal world we’d love to always have your favourite GP available, but until cloning becomes commonplace we just can’t achieve this. Our doctors are a team and they don’t mind sharing!”. This advice is still good. With 24 doctors across three sites, every patient should be able to find a “back-up doctor” for those times when their favourite is booked out or not available.

Other improvements suggested by survey respondents included:

  • the need for more comfortable chairs in the waiting room –  We will acquire some higher chairs with arms (easier for less mobile patients to get up from) and some with greater cushioning.
  • the need for decorations in the waiting room –  This was already underway – our “foliage” feature was installed on 10th June and we are awaiting delivery of some pictures for the walls.

Furthermore, although this feedback wasn’t prominent in the surveys, we acknowledge that our telephone system needs improvement. As flu vaccinations and covid vaccinations have needed to be booked via telephone, this has massively increased the number of calls we receive. We hope to add a feature advising what number you are in the queue and to implement other changes that will reduce the number of incoming phone calls. In the meantime, our staff are doing the very best that they can and we appreciate your patience.

We thank the patients who completed surveys for the Carson Suite and are overjoyed that the vast majority of feedback showed that our efforts to provide professional and caring service are being recognised.

Our mission: Providing exceptional healthcare to our community.

Exciting news! We got the key!

We are delighted to announce that Blackburn Clinic will be expanding into Suite 8 of 195 Whitehorse Road (the space where the pharmacy used to be) in 2022. Extra GPs will help us meet growing patient demand and provide greater patient choice. Follow us on Facebook for updates about our planned renovations.  This has taken MANY months of planning and hard work by our management team. We await Council approval and we’re keen to get started on the brand new fit-out!

Update for patients – 23 August 2021

The coronavirus vaccination program continues to evolve as supplies of Pfizer vaccines increase.

From 30th August 2021, all people from 16-59 are welcome to book for a Pfizer vaccination with a small number of children 12-15 and an even smaller number of adults 60 and over eligible as well. We continue to offer Astra Zeneca to all patients 18 and over and it continues to be the only choice for the vast majority of those over 60. Please see our home page for further information.

Please remember that your second dose is vital for best protection, and this must be with the same brand as your first dose.

We are currently booking Pfizer vaccinations into October but will continue to monitor our stock levels and as they increase, we will open up more appointments on our website.

As recent outbreaks have shown, our community’s safety is vulnerable. It is really important for all of us to be vigilant for symptoms and to be tested straight away. We continue to offer telehealth consultations for those with symptoms and can physically examine patients in our protected car park clinic. Please do not attend the clinic if you are unwell. It is vitally important that we keep other patients and our staff safe and ensure that Blackburn Clinic can remain open to serve you and others with all of your health needs.

As an essential business we remain open and able to provide all of our regular services. It is paramount that your regular checks and investigations continue.

On another note, we are pleased to announce that Blackburn Clinic has taken on the lease of the old pharmacy site. We plan to fit out these rooms over summer to allow for a further expansion of our capacity to serve our community.

Finally, a big thank you for all of your wonderful feedback and praise of our staff, our vaccine clinics and our service overall. We are greatly encouraged by your support, as we strive for our mission of delivering excellent healthcare.

Dr Peter Lovass
Managing Principal

Is it true? Your COVID-19 Vaccine questions answered.

It is important to rely on reputable sources of information to help you make informed choices and stay up-to-date on the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines.

With new vaccine developments every day, it’s normal to have questions or concerns, and possibly feel hesitant about getting a vaccine. Sometimes it’s hard to tell misunderstandings or false information from the facts.

This Department of Health web page answers a range of questions including:

  • how long does it take to get immunity after vaccination?
  • will we need to get a booster shot each year?
  • does the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Vaccine cause blood clots?
  • can COVID-19 vaccines give you COVID?

Click the link below for the answers to a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine questions:

https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/is-it-true?mc_cid=12d7ac1d6f&mc_eid=810527899a

Welcome Dr Yashar Zadeh

We are delighted to welcome Dr Yashar Zadeh to our team of doctors. Yashar grew up in Iran and became a Doctor of Medicine in 2002. Since moving to Australia in 2007 he has worked in several General Practices in Victoria. Yashar brings a wide range of experience, is compassionate and speaks fluent Farsi. Please view our Winter 2021 Newsletter to read our interview with Yashar.

Covid Vaccines for ages 50-69

We have special permission from the Department of Health, to start vaccinating our patients aged 50 and over against Covid -19.

If you are aged 50-69 you can book ONLINE (see instructions on our home page) to have your Covid vaccine at one of our weekend vaccine clinics. If you need a weekday appointment please phone the clinic instead.

If you have risk factors (listed on our home page) you will need an appointment with your GP first to discuss the risks before you book your Covid vaccination. If you don’t have risk factors just go ahead and book for the Covid vaccination.

COVID VACCINATIONS have begun!

We thought it fitting that our longest serving staff member be the first person vaccinated at Blackburn Clinic!  Maree and her team have worked tirelessly to prepare for our first mass Vaccination Clinics this Saturday and Sunday. A small number of COVID vaccines were administered during the week to ensure we have the protocol down pat. If you are eligible to receive a COVID vaccine under Phase 1b (see the Eligibility Checker link on the home page) then please book online for an appointment with a Covid Vaccinator (specific instructions on the home page). If you are a New patient please download a registration form (see the home page) and send it in so that we can enter you on our system and arrange an appointment for you.

COVID-19 Vaccination Start Date

We are excited to announce that we will START GIVING COVID-19 VACCINATIONS ON SATURDAY 27th MARCH 2021. Please refer to information on our Home page regarding how to book. Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations will initially only be available for weekends. This will enable us to separate the vaccination clinics from normal consulting in order to meet the stringent administration requirements associated with COVID-19 vaccines. We are extremely proud to be part of the first cohort of general practices around Australia that have been nominated to participate in the vaccine rollout.