Do You Need a Referral to See
A Podiatrist?

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When it comes to foot health, podiatrists are the experts, providing specialised care for a variety of foot and ankle issues. If you’re based in Australia and wondering whether you need a referral to see a podiatrist, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of accessing podiatry services Down Under.

Understanding the Australian Healthcare System

Before diving into the specifics of podiatry referrals, let’s take a brief look at the Australian healthcare system. Australia boasts a robust public health system known as Medicare, which offers residents access to a range of healthcare services. However, the rules for specialist services, including podiatry, can vary.

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General Practitioner Referral: Is it Necessary?

Unlike some specialist medical services, you generally do not need a referral from a General Practitioner (GP) to see a podiatrist in Australia. Podiatrists are primary healthcare providers, which means you can contact a podiatry clinic directly to book an appointment. However, there are situations where a GP referral can be beneficial.

Enhanced Primary Care Plan (EPC) Medicare.

If you have a chronic medical condition and require ongoing podiatric care, your GP might include podiatry services as part of an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) plan. Under this plan, Medicare can cover some of the costs associated with your podiatry visits. To take advantage of this, you would need a GP referral.

Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). 

DVA patients do need a initial doctors referral. Once this is in place then unless you change your podiatrist your referral will be valid. 

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Private Health Insurance and Podiatry

If you have private health insurance, check your extras cover to see whether podiatry services are included. While you don’t need a referral to claim benefits for podiatry services, having one might streamline the process, especially if your podiatry treatment is part of a broader medical care plan.

National Disability Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be a valuable resource for people with disabilities to improve their foot health. Podiatrists registered with the NDIS can provide a range of services, from routine checkups and diabetic foot care to custom orthotics and appropriate footwear. These services can help participants maintain independence by improving mobility, reducing pain, and preventing complications. If you are an NDIS participant with foot concerns, talk to your doctor or plan manager about the possibility of including podiatry services in your plan.

Work Cover and Podiatry

WorkCover and podiatry can go hand-in-hand for workplace injury recovery. If you suffer a work-related foot or ankle injury, WorkCover may cover podiatry treatment as part of your rehabilitation plan. If you have a work injury affecting your feet, talk to your doctor about the possibility of incorporating podiatry care into your WorkCover claim.
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