Muswellbrook Doctors is bound by the Privacy Act 1988 and complies with the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 No 71. All patient information is private and confidential, and disclosure to family, friends, staff, or others without the patient’s approval or as legally directed is prohibited.


Muswellbrook Doctors is a Mixed-Billing Practice. Most consultations are time-based and will incur private fees for patients who are not eligible under the bulk-billing criteria. Fees are payable at the time of consultation by cash, credit card or EFTPOS.

We are still able to bulk bill eligible patient groups for most of the consultation types:

  • Children under 16 years of age
  • Commonwealth Concession Card holders
  • DVA Gold Card Holders
  • Health Care Card Holders
  • Pensioner Concession Card holders


Medical information in an electronic format is transmitted via encrypted format using secure messaging software. Medical information can be mailed only through secure post (i.e. with a tracking number). Patient diagnostic results and correspondence, whether in electronic or hard copy format is always forwarded to the relevant doctor. The word “Confidential” is recorded on the correspondence. Patient information is only sent via email if it is securely encrypted. We do not accept patient enquiries or requests via email. We also do not send patient information to personal email addresses.


Facsimile, printers and other electronic communication devices are located so they are only accessible to the doctors and other authorised staff. All faxes containing confidential information are only faxed to numbers after checking the fax number is correct

Computerised Records

Specific systems have been put in place to protect the privacy, security and integrity of patients’ records. All staff are trained in computer security. IT Support oversee maintenance of computers and their security.


Test results are usually available within 2 – 5 working days unless advised otherwise. Generally, results will not be provided over the telephone. We ask that you make an appointment to discuss all test results. Urgent abnormal test results will be brought to your attention by a doctor or one of our staff members.

Telephone Enquiries

We value our patients concerns, so please leave a clear message with the reception staff and your doctor will return your call when possible.

Additional Information

Each staff member is bound by the signed privacy clause contained in the employment agreement. All information received during a consultation between a doctor and the patient is considered personal and private health information. Medical information includes past medical and social history, current health issues and future medical care. Doctors, staff and contractors maintain the privacy of personal information. Medical records are the property of the practice. Only written requests for access to medical records are accepted.

Smoking, Drugs and Alcohol Policy

As a healthcare provider, our aim is to promote the health and well-being of all members of the practice team, patients and others whilst on our premises. Smoking is therefore not permitted in this practice and is discouraged on the premises or the surrounding area. The use of illegal drugs and alcohol is prohibited on and around the site.

No member of the practice team should present for work if under the adverse effects of alcohol or illegal drugs.


Practice team members who are smokers should make an effort to remove any nicotine odour on or about clothing and self, prior to returning to duty.

No smoking signs are visible in the waiting and reception area and these signs are not to be removed, except to replace worn or frayed items.

Brochures and posters for ‘QUIT’ and related no smoking and drug free strategies are placed in the waiting room and visibly displayed to demonstrate our commitment to better health strategies.


We constantly strive to give patients the best possible care and attention, but if you are dissatisfied with any element of our service, you should initially bring this to our attention

If this does not result in your issue being adequately resolved, we would welcome receiving your complaint in writing, we will acknowledge your complaint in writing or contact you to discuss the way forward.  Your complaint will be investigated, and you will be kept advised of the outcome.

However, if you still feel that we have not dealt with the issues you have raised as you would wish, you can write to The Health Care Complaints Commission by clicking here. The HCCC acts to protect public health and safety by resolving, investigating and prosecuting complaints about health care.

It is an independent body set up under the Health Care Complaints Act 1993.

It has a central role in maintaining the integrity of the NSW health system, with the overarching aim of protecting the health and safety of individuals and the community.


All members of Muswellbrook Doctors understand the importance of respecting the principles of confidentiality in respect of any information they receive in the course of their employment.  It is only with the patient’s informed consent that any medical details will be shared with fellow professionals outside the Practice Team.

Zero-tolerance Policy

Our practice has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of aggressive or intimidating behaviour, verbal or physical. Any person acting in an aggressive or intimidating manner in person will be asked to leave the premises immediately, or if this occurs over the phone, the phone call will be ended immediately. We are committed to providing quality customer service. We will treat you with courtesy and respect. You can help us by treating our staff the same way.

Communication with your Health Professional Policy

Phone calls are not transferred to the doctors during consultations. Phone calls to your doctor will be put through initially to the nurse if available, or the nurse will return your call as soon as possible. The nurse will then discuss any concerns with your doctor and get them to call you as required. If your doctor has asked you to phone, please advise reception, and you will be put through, or a message will be taken for the doctor to return your call as soon as possible. We do not accept requests for clinical information over email since we cannot assess and examine your condition correctly.



Our patient scheduling system is flexible enough to accommodate patients with urgent, non-urgent, complex and planned chronic care, and preventative needs.

The individual preference of our general practitioners or other healthcare providers, such as our nurses, is accommodated and members of the clinical team are consulted about the length and scheduling of appointments.

Patients can request to see their preferred general practitioner or member of the health team.

The length of clinical consultations will vary according to individual patient needs. Our aim is to provide enough time for adequate communication between patients and their practitioners to facilitate preventative care, effective record keeping and patient satisfaction. Patients are encouraged to ask for a longer appointment if they think it is necessary.

Our practice endeavours to accommodate patients with urgent medical matters even when fully booked.

All practice team members are trained to have the skills and knowledge to assist patients in determining the most appropriate length and timing of consultations and to recognise and act accordingly for patients with urgent medical matters.

Where possible, information is provided in advance about the cost of healthcare and the potential for out-of-pocket expenses.

We endeavour to respect patients’ cultural backgrounds and, where possible, meet their needs including providing privacy for patients and others in distress.


Each general practitioner and other healthcare provider (such as nurses and allied health) have specific times allocated to their consulting sessions to accommodate the need for interval times, short and long consultations, diagnostic tests, procedures etc. Each general practitioner also has a designated time allocated for home or other visits to see patients that are unable to attend the practice.

Generally, no more than six (6) appointments are made for any one (1) hour period and we aim to ensure no appointment is scheduled for less than ten (10) minutes. Patients are advised that one appointment is required for each family member requesting to be seen where more than one family member needs to consult with a general practitioner.

Patients can request their preferred general practitioner when making an appointment and our practice team will endeavour to ensure that patients generally see the same practitioner. If patients are unable to obtain an appointment with the general practitioner of their choice, they are advised of the availability of other practitioners they can consult with. A patient can expect to see their practitioner, or an alternative as approved, within two (2) working days.

If a third party is to be present during a consultation/treatment, whether requested by the general practitioner or accompanying the patient, consent from the patient will be obtained prior to the consultation (refer to Section – Third party observing or clinically involved in the consultation).

Our practice information sheet outlines the types of consultations that may require a longer consultation and the costs. Patients can readily request a longer time when making an appointment.

Our practice team members have the skills and knowledge to assist in determining the most appropriate length and timing of appointments. Should a longer consultation be requested or is determined by information received from the patient, our team will endeavour to allocate the appropriate time for a longer consultation.

Our practice aims to ensure patients do not wait past their appointment time; however, where patients will likely be waiting more than 30 minutes, we will communicate these delays. Wherever significant delays are expected, we aim to contact patients prior to them attending the practice to advise of the delay.

As a priority, practice team members are vigilant of the need to detect and place requests for urgent care for immediate or timely attention by a general practitioner; our practice accommodates urgent care even if we are fully booked (refer to Section – Medical emergencies and urgent queries).

Cancellations and ‘no-shows’ are monitored and marked accordingly in the appointments schedule and these patients are followed up as appropriate. Attempts to contact patients that fail to attend appointments are documented in the patient’s health record.

Appointments made for patients required to attend a recall or periodic medical review are flagged so that if a patient cancels the appointment the practice team are alerted to ensure another appointment time is schedule. If the patient fails to attend the practice for the appointment, the general practitioner is alerted to determine the appropriate action to be taken (i.e. contacting the patient to arrange a re-scheduled appointment time) (refer to Section – Follow up of tests, results and referrals).

When booking an appointment, our practice team members obtain the patient’s name and correctly identify the patient using three (3) approved identifiers in accordance with Section – Patient identification then:

  • Determine the urgency of the appointment
  • Determine the length of the appointment required (i.e. does the patient have complex medical or communication needs or multiple health matters they want to discuss?)
  • Annotate any appointments made for a periodic review (e.g. blood pressure check) or medical recall (e.g. abnormal pathology result) so follow up procedures can be instigated if the patient does not attend
  • Advise of any potential for additional or out-of-pocket costs associated with longer, urgent or missed consultations
  • If the general practitioner requested is not available at the preferred time, give the nearest available time/day before asking the patient if another general practitioner would be suitable
  • Provide suggested appointment times if needed
  • Record the patient surname and given name in the agreed timeslot for the chosen general practitioner, and
  • Verbally re-confirm to the patient their name, scheduled appointment time and general practitioner being seen.

If the patient scheduling the appointment is new to the practice:

  • Inform them of the practice location and parking arrangements
  • Outline consultation costs and payment methods
  • Obtain their contact telephone number/s, address and other demographics, and
  • Ask the patient to bring list of current medications where applicable.

Cancellations and missed appointments

Patients who do not attend for their scheduled appointment are telephoned to determine if an appointment is still required and if another appointment is to be scheduled. If the patient cannot attend the same day, use computer program instructions to delete the appointment whilst enabling the tracking of the cancellation for medico-legal purposes.

Patients that fail to attend a recall or periodic medical review appointment

For appointments of significance, it is imperative every attempt is made to contact these patients and that such attempts are documented in the patient’s health record in Medical Software and in the recall book.

In attempting to contact the patient, it is recommended that the telephone calls are made at different times of the day and should the patient not respond, a follow up letter is sent requesting the patient contact the practice (also refer to Section – Follow up of tests, results and referrals).

Patients in distress

We respectfully manage patients and others in distress by providing privacy through access to quiet private room.

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