FAQ

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

A medical referral is desirable to ensure that you are seeing the appropriate specialist. A Medicare rebate cannot be claimed against fees without a valid referral. The referral must be addressed to Professor Allen and no one else.

Do you bulk bill?

We are a private billing practice and do not bulk bill.

Can I claim my fee on private health insurance?

Private health insurance only covers in-hospital consultations. Should you have a hospital stay, we are a NO GAP practice and will directly bill your health fund.  Private consultations in the rooms are not claimable on your private health insurance as they are partially covered by Medicare.

Bronchoscopy procedures may be covered by your health fund depending on your level of cover.

How do I know if I have a sleep disorder?

If you regularly have trouble getting to sleep or sleeping through the night, if you wake up too early or have a hard time waking up at all, or if you are overly tired during the day, you may have a sleep disorder. If people complain about your loud and incessant snoring, you may have a sleep disorder!

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is a way of finding out how sleepy someone is during the day, and was first devised by Dr Murray Johns in Australia and published in 1991. It is now used internationally by sleep clinics, research groups and sleep physicians. You can download an Epworth Sleep Form here.

If your total score was more than 5, you have mild sleepiness and may not be getting the proper sleep you need. If your score is 10 or more you should talk to your family doctor about how to improve your daytime energy levels and alertness. Your GP will decide whether to refer you to Professor Allen for a diagnostic sleep study.

How do I know if I have a breathing disorder?

An ongoing cough or shortness of breath while exercising, and/or general fatigue can be signs of a breathing problem. Many people simply feel that they are “out of shape”, slowing down, or getting older when, in fact, they are working harder to breathe. Go to the Australian Lung Foundation  and complete their great interactive lung health checklist. Please see your GP who will decide whether to refer you to Professor Allen.

Is there any on-street parking?

There is limited parking on Chasely Street, Lang Parade, Dixon Street and Park Avenue. These are metered car parks with varying time limits from 2 hours to 10 hours. Otherwise there is plenty of available parking at the Wesley Hospital’s multi storey car-park.

What should I bring with me when I come for a scheduled appointment?

Apart from your Medicare card and insurance information:

  • A referral from your General Practitioner, family doctor or specialist
  • All pertinent reports and test results from your primary care or referring doctor
  • A list of all medications that you are currently taking
  • A list of any known drug allergies and the symptoms you may have from taking these medicines
  • Details of any treating therapists eg. cardiologist

If you are new patient to the practice, please come a few minutes earlier than your appointment to fill out any patient paperwork that may be required.

Can you access the Federal government My Health Record?

At this stage, our practice has not registered to access the My Health Record portal so therefore, cannot access your records on your behalf.  If you have registered for a My Health Record, please bring along any reports that you think Dr Allen might need to see and we can add them to your confidential record in our rooms.

Further information can be found here.

How can my family doctor help me to obtain appropriate specialist medical care?

Before seeing any medical specialist, it is always preferable to talk to your own family doctor, who can discuss your condition with you and advise on whether any specialist care is appropriate. If it is, he or she can help you to choose the specialist best suited to your needs. Your family doctor can help the specialist to care for you better by providing relevant information about your health. Communicating with the specialist will also enable your family doctor to care for you better during and after your specialist treatment. After each visit, Dr Allen will write a thorough report to your referring doctor to keep him/her informed of your treatment.

Does Professor Allen do phone consultations?

For our many interstate and country patients, Professor Allen will do phone consultations by agreement only. The consultation must be a “follow-up” consultation, (ie. Not an initial consultation) and not after 2 previous consecutive phone consultations. This is to maintain continuity of care and ensure personal examination on a regular basis. Unfortunately, telephone consultations are not claimable by Medicare (there is no rebate) and the fee is payable in advance.

How do I access urgent after hours care?

If you have someone with you, ask them to take you directly to the Wesley Emergency Centre. If you are admitted to the WEC, Professor Allen will be alerted straight away.

If you are concerned about a medical emergency dial 000 and call an ambulance to the Wesley Emergency Centre.

 

What should I do if I am concerned about my condition or possible side effects from my treatment?

If you are concerned about a medical emergency dial 000 and call an ambulance to the Wesley Emergency Centre. If you are admitted to the WEC, Professor Allen will be alerted straight away.

If your concerns are non-urgent, Professor Allen advises that you seek review with your GP. Professor Allen will always liaise with your GP. You may also call our rooms on 3719 5577 to bring your appointment forward or make a new one. Alternatively, you may leave a message for Professor Allen and he will contact you as soon as he is free.

Are my medical records kept private and confidential?

Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. Our staff are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment, regarding your medical records. We will not release the contents of your medical file without your written consent. Should you require the transfer of medical information to another doctor, you will need to fill out an Authority to Release Information form.

Is the sleep study conducted in your rooms?

Diagnostic sleep studies are conducted at GenesisCare who are located at RiverCity Hospital, 10 minutes from our rooms.

They can also be conducted as an inpatient at the Wesley Hospital. On some occasions they can be conducted in your own home although Professor Allen doesn’t recommend them as the data is not as reliable or accurate.

Professor Allen will advise you of the best location, most appropriate for your sleep study should you require one.

How long does it take for sleep study results to come back?

Generally sleep study results take an average of 2 weeks to come back to us. Please make your follow up appointment after this time. If you are visiting Brisbane from out of town, a special priority can be arranged so that your stay is minimised. Please advise staff.

How do I get a CPAP download?

You may get your CPAP download from your local CPAP representative or a download may be obtained from our CPAP technician in our rooms. If you require a download please contact GenesisCare directly for an appointment.

Alternatively, a CPAP download may also be obtained at the Wesley Pharmacy.

Please bring your download to your appointment and hand it to reception on arrival.

Do I need to prepare for a breathing test?

There is no preparation required for a normal lung function test although we ask that you withhold any Ventolin medication at least 4 hours prior to your test.

It helps if you wear comfortable non restrictive clothes.

Does a breathing test hurt?

No.

The breathing test is designed to monitor your breathing capabilities and is based on maximum effort. You will need to blow long and hard when out technician asks you to.

Can I have my breathing test done elsewhere?

Our respiratory laboratory is calibrated to Professor Allen’s specific requirements. We prefer your breathing test to be conducted here so that we can ensure the accuracy of results.

Can I have my radiology done elsewhere?

Wesley Medical Imaging is part of Australia’s largest diagnostic imaging network and provides excellent diagnostic medical imaging. Professor Allen prefers to use them as they are expedient in their reporting and delivery when time is paramount. Professor Allen does prefer that you have your PET scan done at Wesley Medical Imaging as they are the leading experts in the field of PET for sarcoidosis. (They have performed more of these than anywhere in the southern hemisphere.) However, you are welcome to have your chest x-rays done outside of the Wesley should you prefer.

What is a PET scan?

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a medical imaging procedure that can provide information about how an organ or system in the body is working. PET scans can detect cancer in its early stages, help to monitor cancer treatment and check if the cancer is coming back. PET scans are also used to diagnose and assess conditions of the brain and heart. More information here

 

Why do I have to have my PET scan done at the Wesley?

Professor Allen prefers that you have your PET scan done at Wesley Medical Imaging as they are the leading experts in the field of PET for sarcoidosis. (They have performed more of these than anywhere in the southern hemisphere.) Not all PET scanning machines are the same and the expertise of the staff and radiologists is as important as the scanner itself.

If I start on oxygen, won’t I get addicted to it?

No. The air we breathe is approximately 21% oxygen, we cannot live without it. When a patient is started on supplemental oxygen they are often put on something in the range of 24 to 30% oxygen, so it is just a little more than is in the usual air you breathe. Using supplemental oxygen does not make you dependent on it anymore than you have already been dependent on it since your first breath. It is just that with lung disease you may need a little bit more oxygen going into your lungs in order to get an adequate amount through your diseased lungs into your blood stream.

Using supplemental oxygen does not result in increasing demand for oxygen. The increased need is simply related to the progression of your underlying lung disease. Often patients who need oxygen find that as years go by and their lung disease gradually worsens that it takes more oxygen to get the same blood level. This is not because they were started on supplemental oxygen. It is merely because the disease has progressed (as is the natural course of many lung diseases). Often times patients feel that oxygen may be addictive because once they are started on supplemental oxygen they “can never get off it.”  If the underlying lung disease is significant enough that oxygen is required in the first place, oxygen is likely going to always be required.

If Professor Allen feels that you need to use oxygen, you should use it without fear of it causing dependence. Studies show that if you meet the criteria for needing oxygen and use it according to your prescription, you will survive better and longer than a similar patient with a similar disease who chooses not to use oxygen.

 

Can too much oxygen hurt me?

You should consider oxygen as a medication. Accordingly it should be treated like any other drug prescribed, that is, it should be used in appropriate doses. Just because some is good, it doesn’t mean more oxygen is necessarily better.
Some lung diseases require a certain level of supplemental oxygen when the patient is at rest, but more oxygen is needed during times of exertion. Other lung diseases require a set amount of supplemental oxygen on a continuous basis, and increasing the dosage beyond the prescribed amount could be detrimental. Professor Allen will discuss your own individual situation  and determine what is best for you.

 

Why do I have to pre-pay my bronchoscopy procedure?

Arranging a bronchoscopy procedure involves co-ordination between several parties: The patient, the hospital, the anaesthetist, the pathologist and us. A deposit is requested so that these arrangements can be confirmed with all parties. After the procedure, you will be posted a paid invoice which can then be claimed through your health fund.

Can I get my results over the phone?

It is the policy of this practice not to discuss any results over the phone. You will need to make a follow-up appointment to discuss results and further treatment with Professor Allen.

Does Professor Allen treat children?

Professor Allen does not treat children under the age of 18 as a rule. He would advise that you go to a paediatrician recommended by your GP.

Do you see DVA patients?

Yes, we look after Department of Veteran Affairs patients and directly bill DVA for your convenience. However, should there be a late cancellation, our cancellation policy still applies and is payable by the patient.

Does Professor Allen do WorkCover?

No, Professor Allen does not currently do WorkCover claims.

Can Professor Allen recommend any other specialist sarcoidosis Dr’s outside of Brisbane?

Professor Allen cannot recommend any interstate physicians that specialise in sarcoidosis. You would be best to consult your GP for a chest physician but bear in mind that they may only be able to look at sarcoid in the chest rather than globally.

Professor Allen sees many interstate and international patients for sarcoidosis and would be happy to see you should you travel to Brisbane. The waiting list is about 6 weeks for a new patient appointment. You would need to allow a few days stay in Brisbane should there be any tests required to be performed while you are here.