"Rigid policies"

About: Star Health

(as other),

Two refugee young people newly arrived in Melbourne missed two appointments with STAR Health clinic. Unfortunately these were not well facilitated and so these two young people did not attend and also did not cancel their appointment.

I contacted them to find out if they were accompanied by a case manager whether they could attend. I was told flat out, that no bookings could be made for them and that there was nothing I could do. I was not allowed to speak to a GP or a manager about this, to reconsider this process.

Now, these two young people have to travel 20kms to receive their comprehensive health check, instead of being able to walk to a local community health centre.

I understand the demands and that they have a business to run, but it seemed that they weren't even willing to listen to alternative plans to try and get these young people in for a check.

Where will they go when they get a common cold or flu?

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Responses

Response from Star Health (was Inner South Community Health)

Dear Appointment facilitation,

Thank you for your feedback. I regret that your clients have not been able to access GP services at Star Health. Star Health is an organisation committed to providing services that are accessible to everyone in the community.

Our policy for GP services is that if a new client does not attend their first appointment and does not contact us, we will attempt to make contact with them (or a Case Manager) to understand the reasons why. We will make a second appointment, but if this is not attended and we are not contacted, we will not make further appointments.

While it is understandable that for some clients, it is difficult to attend appointments for a range of reasons, we have adopted these policies in an attempt to ensure that our resources are used to support as many clients as possible. We are also aware that health resources are scarce and clients who consistently fail to attend their appointments waste these precious resources.

You indicated that these clients have a case manager. It is common at Star Health for case managers to accompany their clients to their first appointments to facilitate attendance. While this did not appear to happen for these visits, can I suggest they contact our Practice Manager, Lucy Dennett on 9525 1300 to discuss this matter further.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to contact Star Health and would welcome any further feedback you have in the future.

Best wishes,

Damian Ferrie

Chief Executive Officer

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