Super clinics are often touted as the answer to all of our suburban health care needs. But as they’ve become more prevalent there are some big questions starting to be raised about the quality of care they can provide and their methods of ‘employing’ health professionals, especially in disciplines like psychology and dietetics.
In what sounds like an awful experience for patients and professionals alike, the Union has had reports of psychologists working in super clinics being told they don’t have clients and to not expect to see the same patient each session. This is clearly not the most appropriate way of ensuring people’s healthcare is looked after or ensuring that there is continuity in the treatments people are receiving.
We’ve also seen contracts that attempt to prevent psychologists from taking clients with them, and efforts to prevent psychologists and dietitians undertaking their professional work for up to 18 months after leaving these clinics if they intend to continue to work in the region. In some cases we have heard of super clinics attempting to limit people undertaking their professional work within Victoria.
Members have working at super clinics have also been reporting that they have no way of scheduling their own appointments that best suit themselves and their patients. Instead the super clinics are dictating appointments. It also turns out that members aren’t even able to assist with building their clientele as the super clinics generally rule out the ability to advertise for clients.
And there remain very big questions over issues like referrals from and to specialists, the use of Medicare provider numbers by clinics and who is responsible for processing payments – is it the clinic or the clinician?
With so many issues being highlighted about the operations of super clinics and the continuity of care patients receive, the Union is urging Government’s to exercise more caution establishing super clinics. The Government must develop and implement the necessary controls to ensure that these super clinics comply with standards and regulations and are not another way for unscrupulous operators to generate profits.
If you’re working in super clinics and have more information we’d love to hear from you. Contact the Union on 9623 9623 or at enquiry[at]msav.org.au