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Frequently Asked Questions

Waiting List Letter
Why have I received a letter from the Eye and Ear asking if I still want to be on the waiting list? 
If I still want to be on the waiting list what should I do?
I’ve been trying to call the Eye and Ear with some questions, but I can’t get through, what should I do?
How will I know if you have received my form/email with my updated contact details? 
The letter says that you recommend I get a new referral, do I have to? 
I’ve been to my GP/healthcare provider to organise a new referral, how will I know if you have received the new referral?
Why do I have to wait so long to get an appointment at the Eye and Ear?
What happens if I don’t respond to the letter?
I’ve already been waiting for a long time for my appointment, so if I have seen someone else instead, do I need to let the Eye and Ear know?
How long should I expect to wait for my appointment?

Outpatient Clinics
What are Outpatient Clinics?
What hours do Outpatient Clinics operate?
Can someone come with me to the Outpatient Clinic appointment?
Can I choose my doctor?
Will my clinic appointment cost me anything?
What if I need an interpreter?
What do I do if my contact details change?
How do I change my appointment? Or I no longer require this appointment…
What do I need to do on the day of the appointment?
Is car parking available?
What transport assistance is available?
How long will my appointment take?
Will I be seen by students?
What if I need a Medical Certificate?
How is information about me collected and stored?

Account Queries
Is my hospital inpatient account claimable from Medicare or discounted because I have a pension card?
Why was a hospital inpatient account sent to me when I made a payment on admission?
Why am I paying a hospital account when I chose to come to a public hospital?
My private doctor did not advise me there would be a hospital account.
Why was I asked to pay an estimate on admission and not the actual cost of my treatment?


Why have I received a letter from the Eye and Ear asking if I still want to be on the waiting list?

As with all public hospitals, we are constantly reviewing our waiting list to try and make sure that the people most in need of our specialist services can be seen in a reasonable timeframe by our specialists. We are writing to patients on our waiting list to check their details are correct and confirm if they still wish to remain on our waiting list. Patients who no longer need our services can be removed, freeing up more space for patients who require our specialist care. 

If I still want to be on the waiting list what should I do?

Please send back the form on the letter using the reply paid envelope supplied. You can also email outpatients@eyeandear.org.au with your details, including your Patient Number (located on the top right hand of the letter), stating that you wish to remain on the waiting list.

I’ve been trying to call the Eye and Ear with some questions, but I can’t get through, what should I do?

As we are writing and calling a number of patients at once to confirm their details, the phone lines can get very busy. If you have a question about why you received a letter you may like to read these Frequently Asked Questions first to see if they help to answer your questions. If you are calling to confirm that you would still like to remain on the waiting list, you can write to us using the form and reply paid envelope supplied, or email us: outpatients@eyeandear.org.au with your details or questions. You can also leave a message and someone will call you back. 

How will I know if you have received my form/email with my updated contact details?

Once we receive notification that you would like to remain on the waiting list we will write you a letter confirming that you are still on the waiting list. Please allow 4-6 weeks for a confirmation letter to be sent. Please be aware that Australia Post advises that current mail delivery timeframes are up to five business days.

The letter says that you recommend I get a new referral, do I have to?

If you are a patient who has been waiting a long time for an appointment with one of our specialists, we are recommending that you get an updated referral as your condition may have changed. If the new referral indicates that your condition has deteriorated, you may be moved up the waiting list and seen more quickly. If you do not wish to get a new referral you can still remain on the waiting list. 

I’ve been to my GP/healthcare provider to organise a new referral, how will I know if you have received the new referral?

Once we receive notification that you would like to remain on the waiting list or a new referral from your GP/healthcare provider, we will write you a letter confirming that you are still on the waiting list. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for a confirmation letter to be sent. We will also write to your GP/healthcare provider. Please be aware that Australia Post advises that current mail delivery timeframes are up to five business days.

Why do I have to wait so long to get an appointment at the Eye and Ear?

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is a major provider of services in ophthalmology and otolaryngology to patients from all over Victoria. Demand for our services is very high, particularly our outpatient services. In 2013–14 we provided care to over 250,000 patients, with over 200,000 of these in our outpatient clinics. As a specialist hospital, the Eye and Ear aims to prioritise care to those with urgent and complex clinical problems and has put in place a number of strategies to manage demand, including regular validation of our waiting lists. 

What happens if I don’t respond to the letter?

If we do not hear back from you to say you still require an appointment at the Eye and Ear, you will be contacted again and your GP or healthcare provider will also be notified.  In line with the Department of Health & Human Services Specialist clinics in Victorian public hospitals: access policy, if after we have tried to contact you three times and do not get a response, you will be removed from the waiting list and your GP or healthcare provider will be notified. That place will then be freed up for another patient requiring specialist care.

I’ve already been waiting for a long time for my appointment, so if I have seen someone else instead, do I need to let the Eye and Ear know?

To make sure that our waiting list is as accurate as possible, we would appreciate hearing from you to tell us if you no longer need an appointment at the Eye and Ear. That waiting list place can then be freed up for another patient requiring specialist care.

How long should I expect to wait for my appointment?

Due to high demand for specialist care at the Eye and Ear, there is a considerable waiting time for an appointment. If you are concerned about your condition while you are waiting, please see your GP or healthcare provider. 


What are Outpatient Clinics?

Outpatient Clinics are a type of service where you are assessed and cared for by specialist doctors – in this hospital that means a doctor who is a specialist in eye, ear, nose or throat conditions. In some cases you will also be seen by an associated allied health clinician (eg an Orthoptist). Within your visit your condition will be assessed (using diagnostic testing) and treatment options will be discussed.

What hours do Outpatient Clinics operate?

Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Can someone come with me to the Outpatient Clinic appointment?

You may bring someone with you to the clinic, however, due to limited seating we would ask you to come with one companion only. If you are attending an eye clinic, we advise you not to drive as eye drops may be used that will blur your vision.

Can I choose my doctor?

As a public hospital, we have a number of doctors and will nominate one for your visit. You may see the same or a different doctor for each of your clinic appointments.

Will my clinic appointment cost me anything?

If you are a Medicare card holder, you will not be charged to see the doctor. You will be charged for your medications. The price of this varies and discounts apply to Pension and Health Care card holders.

What if I need an interpreter?

An interpreter service is available, phone 03 9929 8234 to book an interpreter for your appointment.

What do I do if my contact details change?

It is important that you telephone, email or write to the specialist clinic to notify them of any changes, this will ensure that the clinic can continue to contact you.

How do I change my appointment? Or I no longer require this appointment…

If you need to change or cancel your appointment please contact the Outpatient Booking Unit as soon as possible on 03 9929 8500.

What do I need to do on the day of the appointment?

On the day of your appointment, please bring:

  • Your appointment letter from the hospital
  • Any relevant X-rays, scans, blood test or other test results
  • A list of current medications you are taking
  • Your Medicare card, pension card (if you have one) and any other concession cards you may hold
  • Your GP's address and phone number
  • Any medication or dietary supplements you may require during your visit
  • Toys or books for children who are attending the clinic with you

Is car parking available?

Parking is available at our Eye and Ear on the Park site at St Andrews Place, East Melbourne. Located 500 metres from the main hospital, the underground car park is available to Eye and Ear patients of both sites at just $4 per hour from 7am to 10pm, five days a week. Access to the car park is via Lansdowne Street. A map of the car park location is available here.

Alternatively, there are several public car parks located around the main hospital with the closest at 410 Albert Street. Parking can be quite expensive but there may be special rates if you arrive before 10am and leave after 3pm. 

Metered street parking is available at both sites however we remind visitors to check signs including clearway restrictions, as your car may be towed if left during clearway times. Both sites are also well serviced by public transport.

Access to parking and drop-off areas in streets around the hospital will be difficult. There will also be regular changes to the hospital’s entrance and exit points. For the latest information on access to the hospital, please follow this link.

For further information, contact Social Services – Transport on 03 9929 8234.

What transport assistance is available?

The Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) assists rural Victorians who need to travel long distances from home for specialised medical treatment from approved specialist doctors. To be eligible for assistance, patients must reside in a rural region and travel 100 kilometres or more (one way), or an average of 500 kilometres per week for five weeks or more, to receive treatment from a recognised specialist. Each state has its own subsidy scheme. To find out more about these schemes, contact your GP or State Government.

For further information, contact Social Services – Transport on 03 9929 8234 or click here to access to VPTAS scheme.

How long will my appointment take?

It is recommended that you allow up to three hours for your appointment. All patients are given a specific appointment time, however sometimes delays can occur. The staff may be delayed by needing to discuss a complicated treatment or diagnosis with a patient, or they may be required urgently in other parts of the hospital. Plan to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your allocated appointment to allow time to complete any necessary paperwork, especially at your first visit.

Will I be seen by students?

The Eye and Ear is a specialist teaching hospital, so there are medical and allied health care students who are at different stages of their training interacting with patients to increase their clinical knowledge. Your doctor will introduce these staff to you, and it is your right to refuse to be seen with a student if you so wish. This will not affect your care in any way.

What if I need a Medical Certificate?

You should ask your doctor during your appointment for a medical certificate if you require one.

How is information about me collected and stored?

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital is committed to protecting your privacy under the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic). See full information here.

Is my hospital inpatient account claimable from Medicare or discounted because I have a pension card?

If you elected to be treated as a private patient, your hospital inpatient account is not claimable from Medicare. No discounts on hospital fees apply to private patients who are recipients of pension cards. 

Why was a hospital inpatient account sent to me when I made a payment on admission?

As with any medical procedure, if unforeseen circumstances should arise during your treatment it may be necessary to arrange additional services, or use a different or more costly prosthetic device. If this happens you may incur additional costs that were not known at the time you paid your pre-admission payment. If this is the case the hospital will forward you an invoice for any additional charges. If the pre-admission payment exceeds the actual cost of your treatment a refund will be forwarded to you.

Why am I paying a hospital account when I chose to come to a public hospital?

If you elect to be treated by a doctor(s) of your choice (even if treated in a public hospital) you will be classified as a private patient and the hospital will charge you accordingly. 

My private doctor did not advise me there would be a hospital account.

Your surgeon should have provided you with written advice as to the costs associated with your treatment. This advice should have included information relating to not only to your doctor’s fees but also the estimated hospital charges. Should you have any queries regarding the information provided to you by your doctor we would suggest you contact them directly.

Why was I asked to pay an estimate on admission and not the actual cost of my treatment?

As with any medical procedure, if unforeseen circumstances should arise during your treatment it may be necessary to arrange additional services, or use a different or more costly prosthetic device. If this happens you may incur additional costs that were not known at the time you paid your pre-admission payment. If this is the case the hospital will forward you an invoice for any additional charges. If the pre-admission payment exceeds the actual cost of your treatment a refund will be forwarded to you.