Psychiatry FAQs- Central and Eastern Sydney PHN

Dokotela offers telehealth appointments with Psychiatrists and have been funded to provide services to some clients at no cost to the client (those living within Central Eastern Sydney primary health network and South West Sydney primary health network). 

You see our specialists by a secure video conferencing platform. Some face to face appointments are also available in certain areas.

Dokotela also offers appointments with Geriatricians and Psychologists (fees applicable).

1. SMS invitation – You will receive a link to book an appointment with our Clinical Care Coordinator via SMS. Book the intake call for a date and time that suits you.

2. Intake call – This call will take approximately 30 minutes. At this call you will answer some screening questions and discuss what you are hoping to achieve in your psychiatry appointment.

3. Book psychiatry appointment – You will receive an SMS post phone call to book an appointment with a psychiatrist.

4. Attend your telehealth psychiatry appointment – After your appointment, please see your GP to discuss the treatment plan.

5. Post appointment call – Approximately 3 weeks after your appointment with the psychiatrist you can expect a follow up call from our Clinical Care Coordinator. The follow-up call will take approximately 10 minutes. At this call they will check in with your progress and answer any questions you may have.

Psychiatrists are doctors that specialise in mental health. They make a thorough assessment based on taking a comprehensive history from you regarding the symptoms you have been experiencing. They will then recommend suitable treatment. Mental illness can be treated and many people recover well or even completely.

Your first appointment with a psychiatrist will usually be approximately 1 hour. During this appointment your psychiatrist will:

  • ask you about your concerns and symptoms
  • ask questions about your general health
  • ask about your family history and patterns of behaviour
  • may ask you to fill out a questionnaire or gather some other information.

The long appointment gives the psychiatrist time to ask all required questions, listen to you and understand each aspect of your situation. They might also want to speak with other health professionals or members of your family. Your psychiatrist may order some more tests to help them understand what is going on.

It might take one or more appointments for your psychiatrist to make a diagnosis. The next step is to work out a treatment plan. A treatment plan is a combination of therapies that suit your health, preferences, family situation and age. Usually (but not always) the treatment plan will include some medication, psychological therapies and lifestyle changes. You and your psychiatrist will work together to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Appointment lengths vary depending on the specialist you are seeing, but the below gives you an indication:

Psychiatrist: Initial Appointment

60 minutes

Psychiatrist: Subsequent Appointment

30-60 minutes

Telehealth is a virtual consultation that is completed over a video platform such as Zoom or Coviu. Appointments are performed from either a GP clinic or from the patients home.  It is not a phone call, the Specialist must be able to both see and hear you for a consultation.

Psychiatry appointments require a referral from your GP to one of our specialists. Your GP or other clinician will also need to fill in a form online so that you are eligible for this service (at no cost).

If your appointment is for ADHD or suspected ADHD, you are required to hold a valid Health Care Card. If you do not hold a Health Care Card you can still access treatment for ADHD via our private service, if you would like to know more, please send an email to admin@dokotela.com.au. 

If you have received an SMS inviting you to book an appointment, this has already been completed.

For some people and in some situations, telehealth (seeing someone by video or telephone), can be just as effective or more effective than in-person care. The benefits of telehealth is access to a specialist for your healthcare needs anywhere, anytime, without having to travel long distances.

Everyone has individual preferences. Some people prefer telehealth because it is more convenient and they feel they find it less intimidating than going to a doctors office. Other people prefer to sit in the same room as the person they are talking to. The best way to know is to try it out!

You can have your appointment from your home, your clinicians office or from our teleconferencing hub in Roselands (2195)

Your clinician may be a nurse, psychologist, GP peer support worker or any other professional helping you with your mental health. Please contact them to discuss when they are available to attend your appointment with you.

Either way you will need a device with a camera and microphone and a good internet connection.

If you don’t have the equipment you need for the appointment or are not confident to join the video conference yourself you have two options.

  1. You can do the appointment with a friend or family member who has a device and internet connection you can use, if you are comfortable with this option.
  2. We can arrange for the appointment to be facilitated from your referring clinician office, so that they can help you connect to your appointment. If you would like to take this option and need some help organising this, please call our practice on 02 8003 7668.

If your referring clinician is able to facilitate your telehealth appointment then yes absolutely.  

Please contact your clinician to check when their office is available for you to have your appointment. If you need assistance, please call our practice on 02 8003 7668 so we can help you book this in.

Your appointment is funded by the primary health network in the region you live and/or Medicare.
There is no fee for clients to access this service.

Generally wait times for an appointment are 2-6 weeks. If you are flexible with the times you are available, we can get you seen quickly. We can also place you on a cancellation list for an earlier appointment (please send us an email admin@dokotela.com.au requesting you are added to the waitlist after booking your appointment)

Please note that we are not an emergency service. If you do require urgent care, please see your general practitioner, or go to the emergency department at your local hospital.

Once you have completed your online booking, you will receive a confirmation SMS to your mobile number (please allow 5-10 minutes). This will contain all information including day and time of your appointment, the specialist you will be seeing, and instructions for the appointment (whether it is over video call). You will also receive an SMS reminder a few days before your appointment.

You will receive an SMS reminder 5 days prior to your appointment, please reply “Yes” if you are able to attend or call us if you are unable to attend and we can re-book for another day.

Download our instructions HERE

We recommend you bring a support person – this is a family member or friend, anyone you feel comfortable with or trust.

Please bring any mediation you are currently taking and if you have been to hospital lately any discharge summaries that you have available.

A support person can be either a professional assisting you with your mental health or a family member/friend/carer you feel comfortable with and trust.

There are a number of benefits for both the client and the Specialist:

  1. Gives you confidence that you have someone who can help you communicate all of the relevant information
  2. There is a great deal of information provided during the appointment and it can be difficult to remember it all
  3. Having someone that knows you well can provide additional information for the Specialist and can be helpful for the Specialists diagnosis and treatment recommendations
  4. This person can support you on your journey to recovery after the appointment

You are able to change or cancel your appointment anytime up until 48 hours before your appointment by calling 02 8003 7668.

If you do not provide the required notice (48 hours) you will be unable to access the service again.

This is due to the fact that appointments are difficult to fill at short notice and Psychiatrists set aside 30-60+ minutes to spend with you.

Please call (02)8003 7668 and one of our friendly clinic staff will assist you to troubleshoot.

A live chat option is also available from our website if you are having technical difficulties and a team member will be on hand to give you a call to assist.

Most patients require at least two appointments – one to establish a diagnosis and put in place a treatment plan and a second appointment to review your progress and ensure you are happy with your progress. However, other patients may require multiple appointments. Your specialist will discuss this with you at the end of the appointment and answer any other questions you may have.

Once your Psychiatrist has established a diagnosis and treatment plan, they will send this to your GP. If required, your Psychiatrist will write scripts and order pathology. Please ensure you book an appointment to see your GP to discuss your treatment plan. Your GP may also write any prescriptions you require.

If you have any concerns regarding your medications, please see your GP. They will be able to advise you of how to manage these side effects and can contact your Psychiatrist directly if required.

You should speak with your specialist at the time of your appointment.

They will make another appointment for you or recommend your GP write the next prescription (including repeats). 

If your specialist has recommend you see them again for your next script, it is your responsibility to ensure a follow up appointment is booked with plenty of time before your medication runs out. Our specialists are booked in advance so we may be unable to facilitate an urgent appointment if you have run out of your medication.

This service is intended for treatment only. Requests for legal documentation, workers compensation documentation, driving assessments or firearms assessments are strictly not included.

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