Patient Introduction

This practice is focused on people living in Regional WA. There is a shortage of psychiatrists in regional Australia, and since I am based in the South-West, that’s where I focus my work. Due to time limitations, the practice is currently closed to new referrals.

 

Since the COVID pandemic began, all consultations have been by videoconference. I use Skype or Zoom, so you’ll need to have one of these apps installed on your device. This works for most people, but if you wish to see someone face-to-face, you should seek out another another private psychiatrist. You can use the “Find a Psychiatrist” tab on the RANZCP website (my professional guild) to see who is available to see you: https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/find-a-psychiatrist

 

Usually, a first assessment is a video call with you lasting up to 50 minutes. Sometimes, an assessment takes longer and may even take a couple of sessions. I'm keen to establish the goals of your treatment so that we're all working towards the same outcomes. It is helpful to have a support person or family member present for at least part of the first assessment.

 

There is a 2-3 month wait for a first assessment, and I’m not able to schedule reviews at short notice. Urgent matters should be taken to your local public mental health service. In Regional WA, urgent after hours concerns should go to RuralLink on 1800 552 002. People living in the metropolitan area can contact MHERL on 1300 555 788. You may be able to avoid a long wait in your local Emergency Department by getting advice from this helpline.

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Whatever is discussed in our consultation is confidential; the only exceptions to this are if you or somebody else is at immediate risk. I normally write to your GP after our meeting, as your GP is the centre of your health care team and it’s important they know what’s happening in our work together.

I take a patient-centred approach to our work. This means that you are “in the driver’s seat” of your health care; my role is to give you my opinion on what kind of issues are affecting you, and what kind of things may be helpful. In general, the decisions about your health care are yours to make. I take a holistic approach and a broad view on your situation and difficulties, including such things as social wellbeing, physical health, work and vocational satisfaction, and your sense of place in the world. Often, getting the basics right is more important than which medications you’re taking. There are often several choices of treatment, with differing benefits and risks. I will give you information that will help you make a decision.

 

Because my private practice time is very limited, I try to use the “Opinion and Management Plan” Medicare item. This is to provide you and your GP a plan to work from for the following 6-12 months. I can then provide a once- or twice- yearly review to assess and adjust the plan. In this way, I am able to see more people than if I was reviewing people, every month or two.

I do not specialise in court reports. If a lawyer has suggested you come to see me, I ask that you tell me this this at our first meeting, or preferably the Receptioniste when you email or ring to make your first appointment. I am here to help people with their mental health issues, not their court issues. There are other psychiatrists who specialise in medico-legal reports. I do not prepare reports for WorkCover.

All Australian-trained psychiatrists are trained to work with people across the age spectrum. I have done some years of work with children and adolescents. I am willing to see young people, although there are times where a specialist Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is better suited to your needs. For example, I do not prescribe stimulant medication to children. I may decline a referral if I think I am not well suited to your needs. Time limitations mean I am not able to accept all referrals.

 

There are some great resources online to learn more about psychiatry and mental health problems. A good place to start is www.yourhealthinmind.org.au  - this has been put together by my professional organisation, the Royal Australian and NZ College of Psychiatrists. As well as information online, there are some sites you can access “do-it-yourself” therapy, either on your own, or with guidance from  your health professional. We can talk about these when we meet. Beware of medical advice from “Dr Google”: there is a lot of inaccurate and biased information online. The sites I’ve listed on the “Resources” tab are reliable sources of information.

I completed my medical degree at the University of Queensland in 1999. I commenced work in the field of Psychiatry in 2001 and obtained my specialist Fellowship in 2010. Five of my 20 years in the field have been working with Child and Youth, including in the ‘headspace’ model. I am currently also working in the South-West Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

I have worked as a Clinical Lecturer with the University of Tasmania and a Senior Lecturer with UWA. My work has been mostly in public hospitals and out-patient clinics. I have experience in working with Indigenous people in regional WA, Far North Queensland and NSW. Working collaboratively with Aboriginal Mental Health Workers, I have helped discern Cultural issues from mental health issues and facilitate cultural healings for those people.
Where is Reception?

 

The reception team is based in Brisbane. Due to the time difference between WA and Queensland, our phones are answered between 9:00 and 3:00 weekdays.

 

While Reception operates five days per week, the medical practice operates only one day weekly, so there is limited ability to respond quickly to contacts. Your local Community Mental Health Team is able to respond quickly to urgent issues, and with your permission, information can be shared with them.