Practice Communication Policy

Cranbourne Medical and Skin Clinic recognises that different communication
channels may be used by staff members to assist in the efficient and safe delivery
of healthcare services to our patients.

Our aim is to facilitate optimal communication opportunities with our patients. Our
practice allows patients to book their healthcare appointment with their preferred
healthcare provider online via the booking page or direct with Health Engine, this
enables our patients with 24-hour access to our appointment system.

Our practice endeavours to provide patients with access to timely advice or
information about their clinical care. This communication can occur through the
following channels:

Face-to-face – this can be via consultation with your doctor or nurse or
interactions with other staff members. i.e: Practice Manager or reception staff.
Telephone – Patients are able to contact the practice via telephone between the
hours of 9 am – 7 pm Monday to Friday, 9 am – 2 pm Saturday and 9 am-3 pm
Sunday.03 9789 0108

Receptionists will often need to ask questions to determine that the patient
receives the most appropriate care, at the most appropriate time. At times you may
also be referred to speak to one of our practice nurses to determine the urgency or
best course of action for your issue or concern.

All telephone calls are answered by a member of the practice who must adhere to
the following guidelines:
• Staff follow the practice booking system for all patient appointments
• Before any calls are placed on hold staff must first ask if the matter is an
• Staff follow the practice triage system for patients requesting urgent
• Staff make sure that the patient is correctly identified by using three of the
approved patient identifiers
• Family name and given names
• Date of birth
• Gender (as identified by the patient)
• Address
• Patient health record number, where it exists
• Individual Healthcare Identifier
*A Medicare number is not an approved identifier.
• Staff members are aware of each doctor’s policy on accepting or returning calls.

Phone calls from patients requesting to speak to the doctor will not generally be
put through at the time of the call. This is to minimise disruption to the doctor as
they are usually in consultation with another patient and respectfully not wanting to
interrupt their consultation. Doctors may take phone calls if time permits.

The reception staff will ask the patient to briefly explain the reason for the call and
will determine if the doctor should be interrupted or if a message can be given to
the doctor to return the call at a later time. This may be throughout the day or after
the doctor has finished consulting for the day.

Discussing Medical Information:
The Practice Manager and reception staff members are not qualified to provide
medical advice and are not entitled to discuss any medical information over the
phone, email, or any other communication channel. If you wish to discuss your
health, you will need to make an appointment with a doctor or nurse.
Fax – Faxes received that are patient-related are imported directly into the
patient’s file. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. Any urgent
patient-related faxes are immediately handed to the doctor or if that doctor is not
available another doctor in the practice will review the fax. All non-patient-related
faxes are given to the relevant staff member.

All outgoing faxes will be accompanied by a practice cover sheet advising details
of whom the fax is addressed to, fax number, number of pages and confidentiality
and privacy notice.

Email – Whilst we make every effort to keep your information secure it is important
for patients to be aware of the risks associated with electronic communication, in
that the information could potentially be compromised and accessed by someone
other than the intended recipient. Patients must be aware that any communication
they direct to the surgery via email is also NOT secure and confidentiality cannot
be guaranteed. Patients communicating through email do so at their own risk.
If you do choose to contact the surgery via email this will be considered as patient
consent to reply via email. We endeavour to reply to all emails within 1 business
day. Our emails are checked on a regular basis, however, they are not constantly
monitored. If you have an issue that requires urgent attention we request that you
contact the practice via telephone.

SMS – SMS messages are sent for a variety of health management purposes.
These may include:
Appointment reminders – a reminder message will be sent the day prior to your
Health reminders (e.g. cervical screening/care plans etc).
Health recalls (e.g. follow-up of test results) We need to ensure that your mobile
number is up to date at each visit to ensure that this information is sent to the
correct number. Patients must be aware that if another person can access their
mobile phone then the confidentiality of these communications cannot be
protected by the practice.
Post – Letters may be sent offering services available to eligible patients and for

health reminders and recalls for patients who do not have a mobile number or who
have opted out of our electronic messaging system.
Incoming mail is collected and opened each day. Letters received that are patient related are directly imported into the patient’s medical record. These are then reviewed and actioned by the doctor. All remaining letters are provided to the addressee.

Website – The practice’s website is updated regularly with new information. You
can also locate our opening hours, history of the practice, information regarding
our fees and services, book appointments online, view our doctors’ profiles and
see our contact information.

Facebook – Our Facebook page provides general health updates and practice
information. This page, however, is intended for announcements only by
Cranbourne Medical and Skin Clinic and not for the provision of individual medical
advice. If you have any queries or questions, we ask that you please contact the
practice via telephone.

Communicating with patients with special needs
A contact list of translator and interpreter services and services for patients with a
disability is maintained, updated
regularly and readily available to all staff at reception. These include:
• National Relay Service (NRS) found here
• Auslan services 1300 AUSLAN
• Translation and Interpreter Service (TIS) Doctors Priority Line 1300 131 450