Making an appointment

who refers the patient

Why make an appointment

Is it urgent ?

Administration details


The waiting room

The virtual office homepage

drdoc arthritis homepage

For an appointment with drdoc

Ideally a patient should be referred by their family practitioner / general practitioner. However, it is my belief that the gatekeeper system, where referral is impossible, unless the family doctor does so, is severely flawed. There are some practitioners who feel that their expertise is sufficient to look after arthritis patients' every needs. This is NOT ALWAYS TRUE. Much research has taken place in the recent past and in general, many general practitioners do not know what is available in the therapy of arthritis. Therefore, I encourage patients to ask for referral to a rheumatologist, who can recognize the needs of the arthritis sufferer better, and treat the patient with the primary care practitioner, as a team. Even second rheumatologist opinions, should be encouraged, if the patient requests one. Practitioners need to be humble, that they do not know everything, and patients rights are critical.



 

Appointment for a rheumatologist, is based on symptoms of pain in the musculoskeletal system. The rheumatologist, is skilled in all diseases of bone and joint. Although they are mainly skilled in therapy of joint disease, such as arthritis, they are also skilled in osteoporosis and metabolic bone disease. The rheumatologist also deals with systemic disease, and frequently, there are illnesses which are obscure, and for which diagnosis is elusive. Often such diseases are rheumatic in origin, and referral for these are not uncommon.  
It is difficult to assess urgency. Most receptionist's learn rapidly what is important or urgent,. The receptionist will try and book you as soon as possible, but sometimes the waiting lists may be long and unacceptable to you. In this case try ask your doctor to telephone the rheumatologist to expedite the referral.

Urgency includes SEVERE pain. SEVERE swelling, onset of NEUROLOGICAL WEAKNESS, RAPID deterioration amongst many other indications.

 
You should have certain information available when speaking to the receptionist.

Medical aid / health care plan, details.
Contact addresses and telephone details
Referrer information if available

Obtain clear guidelines of COSTS. Do not be shy to discuss costs as embarrassment can be avoided later.
Make sure you understand conditions of payment BEFORE you arrive for the consult. If you cannot afford the consultation, enquire about possible discounts.
IF YOU CANNOT PAY, then request information about public arthritis clinic facility or alternative specialists. These are almost always available in your area

 
 
The virtual office homepage

drdoc arthritis homepage

For an appointment with drdoc