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Topic # 154295 23-Oct-2014 16:27
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My wife just got charged $22 by our medical centre when she asked for a prescription for some eczema creams for our 3 year old. She went in and said 'I need these creams, x, y and z for our daughter'. A doctor there has prescribed them for her before. They said there would be a $22 charge for a prescription. She went to see the nurse who said 'here, I'll do it'. But we still get slapped with the $22 fee. So, my wife asks if there would be a charge for her to take our daughter to see a doctor and get a prescription. No, because doctors visits and prescriptions are free for under 5's. Ok, can I see a doctor then please. No, there are no appointments available until Monday. The reception ladies won't back down. The manager doesn't back down - even when confronted with the logic - a free doctor's visit (costing them time and money) vs. a prescription via the nurse.

The doctors visit would have been free, but the "nurse's visit" was not. Getting the creams from the pharmany will be free, but the issuing of the prescription from a non-doctor was not.

I pay for my prescriptions because I am not entitled to a free doctor's visit. Why waste a doctor's time when the nurse is much cheaper and can issue the prescription. This clearly seems to be a matter of policy at the medical centre. So, my question is, have they acted lawfully? Can they charge for the prescription when doctors visits and prescriptions are free for under 5's? The nurse is not a doctor, but can they charge to get a prescription from one when the patient has certain entitlements? I understand that the "and prescriptions" part refers to the actual charge at the pharmacy, but does the law around this extend to charging for the service of writing a prescription?

Is this lawful, is this reasonable?


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  Reply # 1160814 23-Oct-2014 16:46
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I suspect you will find that the doctor receives funding based on the number of under 5's they see, whether bulk or specific to the number seen.  This means if they allowed what you wanted, their funding stream would be reduced, requiring them to charge more.  A repeat prescription is not considered a visit.

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