Information For Patients
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) has developed an information sheet to support patients and referring doctors of the issues surrounding surgical fees. The information sheet details questions to ask and the rights of patients, and has been produced in close consultation with consumer advocates, health insurers, the ACCC and other key groups.
Key points on the information sheet are that RACS:
- strongly supports full disclosure and transparency of fees as early as possible in the patient-doctor relationship
- advocates that patients understand all available treatment options
- encourages concerned patients to seek second opinions on recommended treatments and the fees to be charged.
In addition to the RACS information sheet, ASPS advises that booking fees are illegal.
Many surgeons receive higher rebates from health funds if they’ve signed a contract agreeing not to charge a gap fee. So-called booking fees are a way of cheating that arrangement.
If a patient sees a fee like that appearing on a statement, they need to ask their doctor what it was for and what the clinical or medical relevance of that is, and if they don’t get a satisfactory answer, they should not pay that fee and they should discuss it with their health fund.
An informative opinion piece by John Batten, former President of the RACS can be found here.