Navigating the health system can sometimes be confusing.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of frequently asked questions below.
You can also visit our Practice Policies page for information about our specific processes and policies. If you can’t find the answer to your question, please feel free to call our reception team on (07) 5301 9828.

No. Most general medical practices in Australia are privately run businesses – typically either smaller, doctor-owned businesses, or larger, corporate-owned chains. Just like any industry, there are a range of different service models on offer, which results in a vastly different experience for patients, depending on how the service has been designed. At Saltwater Medical our service has been purposefully designed to offer a higher quality of care. We have an unwavering focus on providing generous, high-quality healthcare, using a caring, personal, and thorough approach.

Our service has been purposefully designed to offer a higher quality of care by using the following approach:

  • Our doctors are experienced, consultant-level GPs with a caring and thorough manner
  • Generous appointments – while most other practices offer 6–15-minute Standard Consultations, ours are a generous 20 minutes
  • We do all we can to run on time
  • We focus on providing excellent service, delivered by a professional, well-trained team
  • Our facility is state-of-the-art, well-equipped, and welcoming, and comfortable.

We are passionate about providing healthcare without compromise and we are always mindful of the trust you place in us to care for your health.

Our service has been purposefully designed to offer a higher quality of care, and accordingly, the input costs to deliver our service is higher.

For example, our Standard Appointments are booked in 20-minute slots (while most other practices offer standard appointments in 6–15-minute slots). And unlike most other practices, we never double book our appointment list to squeeze more patients in, as this leads to excessive waiting times, and in our view, a poorer quality of consultation. By offering longer appointments and not double booking our lists, it allows our doctors time to practice higher quality medicine.

You can also be assured that the doctor you see at Saltwater Medical is an experienced, consultant-level GP, and NOT a junior doctor on the training program to become a GP.

In addition to this, Medicare rebates have not been indexed over time to keep pace with the rising costs of providing quality healthcare. In fact, the rebate for the most common consultations is less than 50% of what our nation’s medical associations estimate is necessary to deliver quality healthcare. Medicare rebates have not been indexed for decades under successive governments, so if you have concerns about the rising out-of-pocket costs for healthcare, we encourage you to speak to your local state and federal members about increasing Medicare rebates.

At Saltwater Medical, we have consciously decided to prioritise high-quality health care, so an out-of-pocket cost to patients is essential to make our service sustainable.

You can contact our practice by phone, fax, or mail. Our staff will use security questions and processes to ensure they identify you correctly.

You are welcome to drop in and speak to our reception staff at any time, however, please note our opening hours and that we are closed for lunch each day between 12.15am-12.45pm.

We strongly discourage the use of email or social media to transmit your private health information to us and we take no responsibility for the privacy of your information if you choose to use these channels for this purpose.

For security and privacy reasons, we will not:

  • divulge your personal information to anyone other than yourself unless we have your prior consent.
  • use email or social media to send your health information to anyone, including yourself.

We will only respond to general enquiries via our social media channels, and they are not monitored regularly.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept DVA cards. Regrettably, the schedule rates offered by DVA do not cover the costs of providing our high-quality service. However, in recognition of your service, we do offer Gold DVA card holders’ access to our discount fees. We suggest you use your Medicare card to access a rebate.

No. You will need to pay for the cost of your medical care in full on the day of your consultation. It is important to note that Medicare rebates do not cover work related medical issues, which means the full fee for your consultation will be payable at the end of your appointment and you will need to take the receipt to your employer or Workcover for reimbursement. We do not direct bill to WorkCover.

Yes – we offer same day urgent appointments for existing patients of the practice.

Our phones open at 7.30am Monday-Friday. We reserve a limited number of ‘On-the-Day’ appointments each day for existing patients experiencing acute issues. These appointments are NOT published online, so you will need to call the practice as early as possible and be triaged into one of them. We encourage patients to plan routine appointments (e.g. prescription renewals, screening, skin checks, referral renewals, medicals etc) ahead of time as we are generally fully booked many days in advance. Planning routine appointments helps avoid delays/frustrations and ensures our limited number of same day appointments are used for acute issues.

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 000 or go to the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital.

Acute conditions are severe and sudden in onset. Examples include fevers, urinary tract infection, rashes, infections, sprains, strains, earaches, etc. We know you need to see your doctor when you are acutely unwell, which is why we reserve several on-the-day appointments in our doctor’s appointment list each day. We will endeavour to book you in with your regular GP at Saltwater Medical, however, if they are not available, we my book you into an acute appointment with one of our other GPs.

Our on-the-day appointments are NOT published online, so you will need to call the practice as early as possible and be triaged into one of them.

If we have filled all our on-the-day appointments, you could attend the Caloundra Minor Injuries and Illness clinic which is a government run sub-acute public health service designed to acute but non-life threatening medical conditions so as to take pressure of emergency departments.

Non-acute issues are longer term issues that have NOT had a sudden onset. Examples of non-acute, but nonetheless important care, include skin checks, prescription renewals, screening appointments (cervical, bowel, blood pressure checks), vaccinations, tiredness, prescription renewals, care plans, referrals, medicals etc. We encourage patients to plan routine appointments for non-acute issues ahead of time, as we are generally fully booked many days in advance. Planning routine appointments helps avoid frustrations and ensures our limited number of same day appointments are used for acute issues.

If you are experiencing an emergency (e.g. shortness of breath, chest pain, sudden numbness/weakness, confusion, altered speech) please dial 000 or attend the nearest hospital.

The nearest hospital to our practice is:

Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH)

Doherty Street, Birtinya, QLD, 4575

If you are unable to secure an ‘On-the-Day’ appointment with us and the issue is acute, you could present to the Minor Injury and Illness Clinic (MIIC). This is a walk-in, government-funded health service designed to treat patients with non-life-threatening issues who can’t get an appointment on the day with their regular GP (e.g. broken bones, lacerations, minor burns, mild illness).

The MIIC is open 8.00am to 4.00pm, 7 days a week and is located in the former Caloundra Hospital Emergency Department on West Tce, Caloundra.

We will only ever contact you if your results come back as ABNORMAL. Saltwater Medical requires everyone to make an appointment for all investigation results, including blood tests and imaging results. This is to ensure adequate time and the appropriate setting to discuss your results. You may also require further investigations, medical advice, prescriptions, or a referral. If your results are not normal, it may not be appropriate to discuss them over the phone. Our reception team will not give results over the phone. To view our full policy please visit our Results Policy page.

Our practice is designed for easy wheelchair access, and we have a wheelchair available to assist you if required. Should you have special needs please discuss them with our reception staff who will be happy to assist.

Saltwater Medical is open 7.30am – 5.00 pm Monday to Thursday, and 7.30am – 4.00 pm on Fridays. We shut briefly for lunch each day between 12.15 pm – 12.45pm. We are closed on weekends and public holidays, and we also shut down each year from 12.00 pm Christmas eve until the first business day after New Year’s Day.

For after-hours medical attention please call ‘National Home Doctor Service’ on 134 7425.

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 000 or go to the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital.

Yes. We can arrange for an interpreter or other third party to be present if needed during a consultation with our doctors. Please advise reception if this is required.

No. Our doctors are independent medical practitioners who are solely responsible for their decisions regarding patient care and the fees they charge for these services. The practice entity of Saltwater Medical provides our independent medical practitioners with a range of support in return for a service fee which covers their use of our administrative and nursing services, along with our premises, equipment, reputation, and medical consumables. The practice is very selective about the doctors who join team to ensure they have the clinical expertise our patients expect, as well as alignment with our service model and our values and vision. We also ensure our independent medical practitioners are all highly trained Consultant GPs and Fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, with a caring and thorough approach to patient care.

Yes! Our focus is on delivering high-quality, evidence-based medicine. Evidence based medicine is supported by the best and most up-to-date evidence available, usually sourced from extensive scientific research which is gathered from the health outcomes of patients with conditions or diseases like the one you may have.

Our doctors use their extensive medical training and expertise, along with their knowledge of you AND the scientific evidence to decide which treatments will work best for you. Our doctors are highly skilled, experienced, and licensed medical practitioners who are heavily regulated and responsible for the care they provide. They make judgements and recommendations all the time based on the best available medical evidence while considering your preferences and what they think will result in the best outcome for your health.

Be sure to ask yourself when assessing alternative health treatments:

  • What kind of study supports the health claims? Not all studies can be trusted or are truly unbiased. Randomised-controlled trials produce the best results.
  • Is the research peer reviewed?
  • Ask your alternative health practitioner what their qualifications are, what regulations they adhere to, and what responsibility they take for the treatments they offer and the outcomes they promise.

Our advice? Be wary of Doctor Google, Professor Facebook, treatments that sound too good to be true and anecdotal evidence from well-meaning friends.

Yes! We value safety and quality which is why we have invested in systems and processes that comply with those set by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). At Saltwater Medical, we are audited regularly by an independent auditor (AGPAL) and we always strive for continual improvement in line with evidence-based best medical practice.