Psychiatry FAQs- Nepean Blue Mountains 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 one of our Psychiatrists via SMS. Book the appointment for a date and time that suits you.

If you don’t book an appointment online, our team will attempt to call you. 

2. Attend your psychiatry appointment – The appointment will be held at one of the hubs around the South West Sydney region.

The appointment may be face to face or by telehealth (video conference). For video conference appointments, our care co-ordinator will be there in person to facilitate the appointment and support you through the process. 

3. Follow up: After your appointment, please see your GP to discuss the treatment plan. The psychiatrist may book another appointment for you. You will also receive a call from a member of our team approximately 4 weeks after the appointment to check in on your progress. 

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 video conferencing hub, GP clinic or clinicians’ office. 

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

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!

Your appointment will take place from one of our hubs in the region. The appointment may be face to face or via video  conference. 

Our face-to-face locations are GP clinics in the following suburbs, Liverpool (2170), Villawood (2163) and Macquarie Fields (2564). 

Our videoconferencing hubs are run by our Clinical Care Coordinator and are co-located at GP clinics in the following suburbs Gregory Hills (2557), Minto (2566), East Hills (2213) and Tahmoor (2573). There is also a hub located at Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service for Tharawal clients only. 

Alternatively, you can have your video conference appointment from your clinician’s office. 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 you can go to their practice for your appointment. 

Your clinician will need to join the consult with you. If they are not available for the whole appointment, they can join for the last few minutes to discuss your treatment plan. 

Please ensure you or your clinician has a device with a camera and microphone and a good internet connection.

Your appointment will be held from one of our hubs so we will organise everything you need. 

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 or in person). 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.

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 or only one appointment. 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. Please ensure you book an appointment to see your GP. 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. Generally, they will recommend your GP write the prescription including repeats.

If your specialist is writing the 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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