Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have health insurance, what are my options?

If you have no health insurance then you have 2 choices. You can either go onto a waitlist at public hospital or you can elect to pay for the procedure yourself as a self insured patient.

The public hospitals I admit to are Hawkesbury Hospital, Windsor, and Sydney Childrens Hospital, Randwick. The waiting list is considerable (at least 1 year as at Sept 2012) however the care is free of charge.

I have a training orthopaedic registrar who may do the surgery. There are strict Department of Health guidelines as to priority for patients on the waitlist. Essentially it is on “ first come, first served” basis.

If you elect to be self insured you are effectively treated as a private patient which enables you to choose when and where you wish to have your surgery. I can generally allocate you to a list within 6-8 weeks once the decision is made to perform the surgery.

My billings secretary can provide a quote on request as to the estimated cost of the procedure.

The costs if you elect to self insure may not be as high as you think particularly for procedures that can be done on a day only basis such as knee arthroscopy or reconstruction. You will get a proportion of the cost back from Medicare.

Can I drive after surgery?

It is not advisable to drive a car for 24 hrs after surgery. Beyond this time depends on a variety of factors depending on the type of operation. For upper limb surgery both arms should be pain free and you should be able to lift arms to horizontal level. You should not drive if your arm is in a sling ,cast or heavily bandaged. For lower limb surgery you should not drive if your limb is in a cast, boot or splint. You will be able to commence driving once you are able to fully weight bear through the operated leg comfortably and able to bend your knee satisfactorily to sit comfortably.

How long until I can work?

This depends on the nature of the surgery and your work requirements. It’s best to discuss this with me at the time of your consultation as there are many variables.

How long will I need to wait for surgery?

For elective surgery this depends on whether you elect to be treated as either a private or public patient. Public patients where surgery may be done by a trainee surgeon under my supervision can be placed on my waitlist at Hawkesbury or Sydney Children’s hospitals where current wait time is 1 year minimum. For patients treated in a private hospital I can generally allocate a date for surgery within 6-8 weeks.

How are your fees calculated?

My fee is determined by the AMA (Australian Medical Association) scheduled list of fees that is updated annually. A quote will be forwarded to you before the surgery by my billings secretary. Surgical fees include some of your aftercare appointments. The costs of surgery vary with the particular operation required, and with the level of insurance cover. In general, health funds cover the large majority of the costs of your hospital stay, including theatre fees, prosthesis costs, medications, and hospital admission fees. These costs are often significant, and usually comprise the majority of the total costs of the treatment. Most patients will also have a co-payment determined by their health fund policy by which there is a fixed payment per night of hospital stay, which the patient has to pay out of their own pocket. The details of this can be found by contacting your fund.

The fees for surgery and for the anaesthetic are covered only up to a certain amount by Medicare and your health fund. The difference between this amount and the fees charged is called the “gap”. Both the surgical fee and anaesthetic fee are likely to entail a gap if your surgery is performed at a private hospital.

Patients who are not in a health fund may choose to either request surgery via the public hospital system, or alternatively fund the costs of surgery and their hospital stay themselves. My secretary can provide a quote incorporating hospital and prosthetic costs if required. Patients may alternatively choose to join a health fund and proceed with surgery once the relevant waiting period has passed.

Although your in-hospital costs are not covered by the Medicare Safety Net, your out-of-hospital costs may be covered if they exceed certain thresholds. For more information, visit you wish to discuss the costs of consultation or surgery, please call my secretary Pauline on 0287110109

What is the difference if I elect to be treated as a private patient?

If you elect to be treated as a private patient, you will be able to have your surgery sooner than in the public system. Typical waiting times in the public hospital system can be up to a year, or longer. In cases of elective surgery, you will be able to choose the timing of your surgery to suit your work and home situation. As a private patient you are guaranteed that I will perform the surgery myself, where in the public hospital my commitment to training future surgeons means that one of my registrars may perform the surgery under my supervision.

Do you discount for pensioners?


Should I shave my own legs before surgery?

No as shaving prior to surgery is associated with higher rate of wound infection. It is best that this is done on the day of surgery by admission nursing staff using hair clippers in conjunction with prep as they know exactly the extent and area that needs to be done.

I have noticed a scratch, infection or ulcer on my limb prior to surgery. What do I do?

Contact my rooms immediately either by phone or email so that I can review the area to assess whether surgery needs to be re scheduled. Cuts /scratches may become infected increasing the risk of wound infection especially in larger operations that involve prostheses.

What can I do to aid recovery?

The most significant is to cease smoking/ nicotine patches as studies have demonstrated this improves blood flow to the limb and thus healing. Controlled blood sugar levels in diabetics is also important.

Do you offer surgery in the public hospital?

Yes I do. I have public appointments at St John of God Hawkesbury and Sydney Children’s Hospitals. This surgery is performed without cost to you. However this does not include pre- and post-surgery consultations, where a fee is charged.

Will I be covered if I take up private insurance and have a pre exisitng condition?

Yes. Most funds will cover pre-existing conditions after a 1 year waiting period, provided that your new policy covers you for that type of surgery. Be careful when choosing your policy. In particular avoid policy that only covers you as private patient in a public hospital. This particular policy has been described as “junk policy” by the AMA and other medical bodies as the only benefit it confers is enabling you to have surgeon of your choice in a public hospital. It does not enable you to avoid the waitlist. Also many policies designed for younger patients exclude hip and knee replacement. Many older patients that require a knee replacement need to be aware that knee reconstruction is not the same as replacement in policy wording. Unfortunately this is not made clear to them by the health funds when renewing their policies.