Not quite sure what their purpose was in sending me this letter. I’ve been placed on a waiting list? Great! I wonder what happened in the three months between the receipt of the referral and being placed on the waiting list? Not very much from the sounds of it. And I love how it is written they ‘received a referral from Dr T, psychiatrist, on 02/03/2011’. Err, no. Dr T sent off the referral on 4 January 2011, my first appointment with her after I was discharged from the psych ward. And they can’t claim they didn’t receive the referral until this month either, I even received a call from F Hospital a few days later, confirming they were in possession of the referral letter. March 2nd was in fact the day Dr T called F Hospital to chase up the referral due to the lack of follow up. I suppose it looks better for them when they can say, ‘We received a referral and replied accordingly in the same month!’ rather than ‘We received a referral three months ago but were too busy sipping cups of coffee and gossiping in the staff room to bother following it up until now.’
I think I give up on receiving adequate follow up and services from the public mental health system. Fortunately, I now own private health insurance which covers private psychiatric hospital treatment. Dr T did suggest there were group programs run at H Private Hospital, one of them being ACT, but it would be very expensive without private health insurance. At the time of referral to the DBT program, I had not yet fulfilled the two month waiting period required to utilise the private hospital cover. However, over two months have come and gone since then.
Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that my referral is being handled in a typically inefficient manner after all. At current I’m quite content with seeing my psychologist R. Even better is that I’ve crossed the Medicare Safety Net threshold as of last week. What this basically means is that the Australian government has decided the $580 my family has spent on medical bills this year is quite a substantial amount, and from now on will subsidise a further 80% of our out of pocket costs until the end of the year. This means I now only pay $9 as opposed to $45 for psychologist appointments, and $31 as opposed to $155 for psychiatrist appointments. Unfortunately the Australian government are also under the impression that twelve psychologist appointments a year is sufficient for treating mental illness. I’ve been seeing R weekly. At the current rate, I’m going to use up my allowance of psychologist sessions in three months. Three months. Thereafter, I either stop seeing her, or pay $165 for each session. My private health insurance does not cover private psychology. Because three months is really going to cure years of mental health issues. Oh well, maybe by that time the DBT referral will have come through. Though probably not. I won’t hold my breath.