CLINIC BANS : How it all Works
Toombul Clinic is Now Closed.
The Shopping Centre Management has concerns that our clients
may scare off legitimate customers as well as
may behave badly within the shopping centre or
may create an unfavourable public persona for the shopping centre.
They do want to see problem situations like people congregating in front of the Clinic or in the car park.
The Shopping Centre has requested that we do not see methadone patients at the shopping centre . This is due to concerns about the activities of some of our clients. They are convinced that the methadone clients are the most common offenders at the centre when bad things happen. This applies in general to all methadone patients.
If you do attend the Medical Centre- for urgent reasons and you take methadone, we insist that you be well dressed, polite and considerate.
Plus - don't get caught.
Don't shoot up in the toilets.
Do not trade drugs or scripts.
Do not let anyone else know or even suspect that you have a problem of any kind, especially a drug problem.
The Clinic has many different patients, often from middle-class family backgrounds who have no exposure and little understanding of drug related problems and of the people these problems affect. The clinic is concerned that the unfavourable appearance of some members of its clientele - might create fear in or an unsavoury appearance to its other “more usual” patients.
The Staff at our Clinic needs to balance the expectations of the doctors/the clinic management with those of the patients. At times, there is no win/win answer. And in a bulk billing clinic like ours, there is immense pressure on the staff to move onto the next phone call or to deal with the next patient at the desk in the clinic. Often explanations cannot be given for what they are required to do. There just isn’t time.
The staff will not engage in arguments with people.
The staff will not respond to bad behaviour from people insisting on getting their own way at any cost to everyone else.
As a basic observation, I would suggest people not argue with receptionists. You sweet talk people better with honey than with vinegar. And if you really do have a personality conflict with the receptionist with whom you are dealing, you can always ring back and try to get your favourite receptionist. Individual relationships with people who understand you and your problems do work. Ring back if issues emerge and talk to someone else. Don’t argue.
These expectations and concerns mean that the clinic may need to impose its standards on many people and many situations – to the detriment of a few – but hopefully to the benefit of many.
We need to keep the Shopping Centre Management happy.
We need to keep other patients at the Toombul Clinic happy.
We need to keep staff and doctors at the Toombul Clinic working comfortably with everyone.
So what are our standards?
We expect our patients:
To be neat and tidy and presentable – in particular wearing “normal going out” clothes. We do make some allowances for workers, coming directly from work. In general- please wash, be clean and wear clean clothes.
Do Not smell badly.
Wear footwear of some description – not barefoot.
Have good behaviour and be polite.
Use polite and normal language – no swearing, no abuse, no hostility or anger, no fighting, no conflict, no excessively loud talking, no language that implies threat or may create a sense of fear to others, no arguing.
Be tolerant of others at all times.
Look awake and alert – do not be “on the nod”.
Do Not be seen to be consuming doses of medication – in public.
Do Not be seen trading or selling doses of medication in public.
Do not inject or use in a public place such as the toilets or the alleyway near the clinic.
If you don’t get what you want there will be good reasons to explain our actions. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to hear them, but nonetheless there will be good reasons for our actions.
Safety in medication use and prescribing is very important.
Safety for staff is very important.
Safety and Comfort for other patients at our clinic is important.
Violently banging your way out of the clinic, swearing at staff or doctors will get you banned permanently- for everyone else’s sake. Behave politely and appropriately, or you may NEVER get what you want at this clinic. You will be banned forever. Even consider yourself lucky if security does not get involved. And yes, we are quite happy to call the police as well.
In short, we expect people to look and act normally. Most people should look at you and not realise you have a drug problem or feel any fear or intimidation in your presence. It’s not that hard. Our Clinic just expects normal behaviour from people who I would class as normal people.
Clinic Fees at the Clinic
Our clinic does charge a $2 handling fee, (nothing to do with the doctor) for faxing and posting your scripts to your chemist. A letter costs $1.10 to post, nowadays. Faxes come through a phone system which is very costly to maintain in terms of people and technology. Medicare very definitely does not cover your expenses once you walk out of the doctor’s room. The DDU rules are that you are not allowed to transport your own scripts. They must be transmitted / sent by the clinic staff only. Our clinic and Medicare does not pay your bills.
If you do not pay the $2 to post/fax your script, there will be a $5 charge for you to pay on the next visit before you see the doctor. This will be in addition to any other $2 charges that may become due. Personally, I’m not sure what the fuss over $2 is. For what the clinic does for the $2, it is a bargain. The same amount of work through solicitor would properly start around the $10 mark.
So what happens when the staff thinks you are breaking the rules?
We decided to standardise the system for dealing with people who break our clinic rules.
Mild offences get you banned for 2 months from attending the Clinic. You are always welcome to attend at MDC clinic of course.
More severe offences get you banned for 4 months from attending the Clinic. .
Severe offences will have you banned from attending the Clinic permanently.
Recurrent offenders will be banned from attending the Toombul Clinic permanently.
People who are unsafe or dangerous to us or to themselves may be banned permanently from attending the Clinic and may be referred to the community drug treatment programs such as at Biala.
The process for ENDING a period of being banned from attending the Clinic is:
You need to apply by phone to the practice manager to be allowed to return to the clinic.
You need to apologise to the practice manager for the infraction as it occurred.
I would strongly suggest you do not argue with the practice manager about what may have occurred. What is more important is how you will behave in the future. If you cannot act in a respectful and tolerant manner in a conversation to the practice manager seeking to be reinstated to attending the Clinic, I feel your intent to return to the Clinic is unlikely to be successful.
I would also suggest that anybody returning to the clinic after a period of being banned bring a present for the staff – to be given to practice reception staff. Traditional gifts are usually flowers or chocolates or other small gift as may seem appropriate.
These people try very hard to do as much for you as possible within the constraints of the system we have. They deserve our gratitude not our angst.
Dr Andrew Pluta
UMC North Lakes Doctors
26 Torres Crescent, North Lakes
P: 3482 3123
Short Version ( Dr Pluta's Story) .
Long Version (Dr Pluta's Story).