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Frequently Asked Questions

Finding the right therapist

Do I need a referral to see a therapist?

If you see a Psychiatrist, in order to receive Medicare rebates, it is necessary to obtain a referral from your GP. Referrals from a specialist (such as a Paediatrician) are valid for 3 months and from a general practitioner for 12 months, unless longer is specified.


If you are seeing a Clinical Psychologist under the Better Access Scheme, your GP will write a “Mental Health Plan” for you and you can receive Medicare rebates for 10 individual sessions and 10 group sessions per calendar year. All our Clinical Psychologists have the ability to run groups. If you have Extras cover under your Private Health insurance you may be eligible for additional rebates. These rebates cannot be used in conjunction with Medicare rebates, and are generally used after you have had 10 sessions with a Clinical Psychologist.


If you do not require a Medicare rebate, a referral is not necessary and there is no limit on the number of sessions you can attend. However this is not recommended as the rebate allows you to save significant money.

How quickly will I be able to get an appointment?

We will attempt to give you an appointment with the therapist you have been referred to as quickly as possible. However most referrals are to “The Northern Beaches Psychiatrist and Psychologist Family Medical Practice” and as such we may be able to give you an appointment with the therapist with the shortest waiting period.


Sometimes you can increase your chances of seeing someone quickly if you are flexible with the times you can attend, you are on more than one therapist’s waiting list and if you can attend at short notice (as sometimes a session comes up due to a last minute cancellation).


We understand the wait can be frustrating, but as patients may require a number of appointments for assessment and treatment, we need to be sure that once you have seen a therapist that there will be further appointments available to you in the following weeks.

What are the fees to see a psychologist or psychiatrist?

At our practice we do not bulk bill.


Fees vary, depending on the individual therapist, the length of the session and whether you are seeing a Psychiatrist or Psychologist. When you ring for an appointment our staff will be able to inform you of your therapist’s fees.


Payment on the day of consultation in cash, Eftpos or credit card (Mastercard or Visa) is required up front. Once paid, we can immediately transmit the full Medicare Rebate back onto your savings or debit card in just a few seconds. This is via our Tyro system, which is the new innovative medical payment system. If you do not have your bank account registered with Medicare, or you forget your savings or debit card, then we can issue you with a receipt and you can submit it to Medicare for a refund. Alternatively we can lodge the claim online with Medicare and you will be sent a cheque or a refund that can be deposited into your bank account within two days, but only if your bank account details are registered with Medicare.


Appointments are confirmed one business day prior, by SMS.


If a session is cancelled at short notice, we are not able to help someone else. Each therapist has their own policy, but in general, between one to three business days notice is required. If less than the notice required for a cancellation is given, then a fee will be charged. Similarly, non-attendance without cancellation will incur a fee.


The missed appointment and cancellation fees are not refundable from Medicare. At your first appointment your therapist’s individual policy will be given to you in writing.

How much are the Medicare rebates?

The Medicare rebate for an initial Psychiatrist Consultation is $221.30, and $156.15 for standard consultations.


For an initial and standard consultation with a Clinical Psychologist the rebate from Medicare is $124.50.


The rebate for group therapy with a psychologist is $21.65 per client per session.


Importantly, Medicare also has an Extended Safety Net system. This is an excellent way to ameliorate the costs of seeing a Psychiatrist and Psychologist. All Medicare Appointments from any type of Psychiatrist/Doctor or Clinical Psychologist, will add/contribute to this Safety Net.


For individuals and families registered for the Safety Net, once you have paid $2,000 (for 2015) in out of pocket expenses in a calendar year, Medicare will refund 80% of your out of pocket expenses. Making each subsequent appointment for the year exceedingly cheap. The Safety Net threshold for concession card holders is $638.40. In practical terms, once you have seen a Psychiatrist and/or a Clinical Psychologist for approximately a combined total of 12 sessions in a calendar year, almost all of the cost (80% of the gap) of extra sessions will be refunded from Medicare. Group sessions also contribute to the Safety Net.


For further information about the Medicare Safety Net click here.

Is my information confidential?

We realise that seeing a Psychiatrist or Psychologist may be a very difficult, sensitive and private issue and we take your confidentiality very seriously. The Northern Beaches Psychiatrist and Psychologist Family Medical Practice is located at the rear of Level 3 and is essentially devoid of any walk through traffic.


The secretarial staff and therapists have had specific training concerning patient’s privacy and confidentiality and they will not release information about you to any third party without your permission. Patients’ files are securely stored by, and are the property of the Practice.


As you have been referred by your doctor, it is normal practice to write back to your GP and to other health professionals who may be involved in your care. If you do not want certain information released to them, it is important that you mention that fact to your therapist specifically.


There are certain situations in which we might (rarely) need to break confidentiality. This would only occur if we were concerned for the safety of a child or if we believed a patient was at risk of harm to themselves or others.

What should I do in an emergency?

The Northern Beaches Psychiatrist and Psychologist Family Medical Practice is not an Emergency Service and we do not offer out of hours contact with the practice. As such it is important to contact Manly Hospital A+E on 9976 9611 or to present to the A+E and request the on-call Psychiatric Registrar.

Call Us (02) 9083 6100

Fax Us (02) 9083 6199