Homehealth & wellbeingmental healthhow can i see a doctor on my own?

How can I see a doctor on my own?

It’s completely understandable that as you get older, you want more privacy – especially when it comes to your sexual health! Here’s some basic tips to help you take charge.

Firstly, ask yourself: What kind of doctor do I need?

There are lots of different kinds of doctors out there who specialise in different areas of health. A GP (general practitioner) is your best place to start. They can assess the situation, prescribe medication or refer you onto more specific doctors if necessary. 

Before making an appointment, you may want to consider whether you want to continue seeing your family GP (if you have one) or finding one of your own.

If you’re not sure about the doctor you have, seek out another. It’s important to find a doctor you like and you feel comfortable talking to.

Something to think about: Once you have found a doctor you like, try to stick with them.

That way, it’s easier to track changes or improvements in your health and your doctor can better understand your health needs. Remember, conversations between you and your doctor are confidential, which means that they will not discuss your health or anything else you have talked about with your parents or your school.

Making an appointment

Some medical clinics let you book online. Others you can book over the phone or in person. If you would prefer a new doctor instead of your existing family doctor (if you have one) a good place to start is an online directory like Health Engine

Health Engine has a list of doctors in your area, with options like ‘bulk billing’, any languages they can speak, and their gender, so you can find the right doctor for you. 

For a complete directory of LGBTQIA+ friendly doctors, we recommend DocDir

If you’re making a booking in person or over the phone, here’s what you can say: 

  • “Hi, my name is [insert name] and I would like to make an appointment. Are you accepting new patients?”

Some clinics only accept new patients at certain times of the year and others might be completely full. If your chosen clinic isn’t accepting new patients, don’t worry, just try the next one on your list.

  • “Could I please see a GP who is [insert identity here]?”

You have a right to request a doctor of a certain gender or who may have specialist knowledge in particular areas. Note: if your preferred doctor isn’t available straight away and your problem isn’t urgent, you may want to wait a little while longer to get the one you want.

If this is your first appointment with this clinic, you will need to tell the receptionist your first name and surname, as well as your telephone number.

If you are having trouble making an appointment, there are bulk billing clinics which have a drop-in service (this means you just walk in, and patients are seen in order of arrival). This method can take some time, so be prepared to wait.

Paying for your Appointment

Using your Medicare card or number is the best way to pay for your appointment, as it may be free or reduce the cost of the appointment. But not all medical services are paid for by Medicare, which is why you should ask about payment options before you make your appointment. You can do this by asking “Does the doctor bulk bill?” and “Will I have to pay a gap?” 

Learn more about Medicare and payment options here. 

Using a Medicare card 

To bulk bill your doctor’s appointment, you need to provide your Medicare card or number. If you want to be able to do this without your parents or guardian knowing, and you are 15 or over, you can get your own Medicare card online. Click here to get started

If you don’t have a Medicare card yet, don’t worry, you can still get a doctor’s appointment. If this is the case, the doctor may ask for your date of birth and full name so they can obtain your Medicare number. 

For more information about Medicare click here.

Your privacy 

A doctor is someone you can talk to and trust, and who is required by law to keep information about your appointment and your health private. However, there are some exceptional circumstances where a doctor has to share your information, like if they think you’re at risk of significant harm. Learn more about your rights at the doctor based on what state you live in here

Things to remember
  • Everything you say to your doctor is confidential
  • You can request a female or male doctor, a doctor who specialises in LGBTQIA+ health, and more 
  • It’s important to feel safe and comfortable with your doctor
  • It is possible to see a doctor without a Medicare card
  • It is really important to take charge of your health and seek professional advice

Need someone to talk to? Free, confidential support is available.

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