Frequently Asked Questions

All your questions answered

Why do I need a referral?

Why do I need a referral?

A referral is necessary to make sure Medicare Benefits are paid to you, the patient. In other words, you do not need a referral to see a specialist, but you do need one to attract the relevant Medicare rebate for the consultation fee. Generally a referral from a GP is valid for 12 months (although the referring practitioner can indicate an alternative time period – three months, six months, 18 months or indefinite). Referrals from a specialist are valid for only three months.

Where is the surgery performed?

Where is the surgery performed?

Sydney:

St Luke’s Private Hospital
18 Roslyn Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
https://www.slc.org.au

Wollongong:

Wollongong Private Hospital
360 – 364 Crown Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
http://www.wollongongprivate.com.au

When should I start fasting?

When should I start fasting?

St Luke’s Hospital
Fasting should begin 6 hours prior to surgery. Water (up to 2 cups in total) can be had up until 2 hours prior to your admission time.

Wollongong Private Hospital
Fasting should begin 6 hours prior to surgery. Water (up to 2 cups in total) can be had up until 2 hours prior to your admission time.

Please note that this is a general rule only and does not take into consideration your medical history. The hospital or a member of Dr Tawfik’s team will contact you the day before surgery and notify you of your specific fasting and admission details. If your surgery falls on a Monday, you will be contacted on Friday.

When can I start driving?

When can I start driving?

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before you start driving after hand surgery. These factors generally relate to your safety and the safety of other road users and pedestrians.

It is best to discuss driving with Dr Tawfik either at your pre operative consultation or at your first post operative visit. He can then talk you through the following considerations:

  • If you are in pain and unable to grip the steering wheel, then you are not safe to drive
  • Strong pain-relieving medications may interfere with reaction time and judgement
  • You must not drive for at least 24 hours after a General Anaesthetic or sedation
  • A plaster cast or splint will reduce your range of movement and therefore your ability to grip the steering wheel

Please also note, your car insurer may not cover you if:

  • You are involved in an accident and you are wearing a cast or a brace
  • You are taking strong pain-relieving medications that may impair your concentration or judgement
  • You have had a fracture (broken bone) and there is recent x-ray evidence the break has not healed
  • You have had “recent surgery”

Dr Tawfik recommends you contact your car insurance company to clarify cover.

When can I take the dressing off?

When can I take the dressing off?

The dressing applied to your hand at the completion of surgery should remain intact until your first post operative visit. This visit will either be with hand therapy or with Dr Tawfik. When to change the dressing depends on the type of surgery and type of wound you have. The appointment for your first dressing change will be arranged for you and given to you at the completion of your surgery and prior to discharge from hospital.

What should I bring to my initial consultation?

What should I bring to my initial consultation?

Private patients
If you are seeing Dr Tawfik privately you will need to bring along the following items:

  • Referral letter
  • Medicare Card
  • Private health fund card
  • Any scans or X-rays you have had and the corresponding reports. Please note the actual images are required in either film or digital format and not just the reports
  • Any results from additional testing e.g. Nerve conduction studies

Workers compensation
If you are seeing Dr Tawfik under a workers compensation claim you will need to ensure you bring along:

  • Written approval from the insurance company for your consultation (contact your case manager, they will be able to assist you with this)
  • Referral letter (not compulsory but recommended)
  • The name and contact details of your GP or Nominated Treating Doctor (NTD)
  • Any scans or X-rays you have had and the corresponding reports. Please note the actual images are required in either film or digital format and not just the reports
  • Any results from additional testing e.g. Nerve conduction studies

Are there options other than surgery?

Are there options other than surgery?

Dr Tawfik will discuss all non-surgical and surgical options available for the treatment of your condition. The discussion will include the risks and benefits of each treatment option and some recommendations regarding initial and ongoing treatment.

How do I claim from my health fund?

How do I claim from my health fund?

If you require surgery, fees will be discussed after the consultation and you will receive a written cost estimate of the total surgical fee.

Part of your surgical fee will be claimable from Medicare and part from your health fund (this amount will vary depending on your level of cover and health fund). In some surgical instances there will be a ‘gap amount’ which is not covered by Medicare or your health fund and will need to be paid by you.

A member of Dr Tawfik’s team will invoice Medicare and your health fund directly after your surgery. All you will need to do is settle the gap payment at your follow up appointment approximately 2-3 weeks after surgery.

Please note that the surgical fee does not include the Anaesthetist fee or any hospital excess or co-payment that may be required. We will provide you with contact details so that you can make enquiries about these fees.