View Full Version : Moving to Melbourne

Flamin Mo
08-09-07, 07:08 AM
I'm moving to Melbourne in a couple of months and I was hoping someone could give me some advice on continuing my treatment.

I was diagnosed about 4 years ago, and after a fair bit of experimentation with medication, I've now been stable on Dexamphetamine for about 2 years.

Should I just go to a regular doctor to continue my current medication? Am I likely to meet with any difficulties doing that? Will I have to be referred to a psychiatrist? If so, what are the wait lists like? Is treatment normally covered by Health Insurance? (As I'll be on a temporary visa, at least initially, I don't qualify for Medicare, but will instead be either covered by reciprocal agreement, or my "business travel" health insurance).

Also, are there any restrictions on taking medication in to the country or any special procedures I need to follow?

Sorry about all the questions! Thanks in advance.

08-10-07, 09:08 AM
I've only recently started on the ADHD treatment treadmill and so can give only limited advice.

1. Dex and Ritalin have been readily available here for many years, Strattera for a number of years and Concerta only recently. Many meds mentioned on this board are unavailable here eg Daytrana Patches. We have a very rigorous qualification system regarding drugs.

2. GPs can't prescribe and you will need a referral to a Psychiatrist. In some States the diagnosis will need to be confirmed by a 2nd Psychiatrist - don't know if this is the case in Victoria.

Waiting lists can be lengthy for specialists eg in my town: 6-8 months for a pediatrician, 5 weeks for a gastroenterologist. I wonder if you know anyone in Melbourne who could recommend a Psychiatrist so you could make an appointment now and arrange a referral once you find a GP. Only problem with that is the receptionists always ask for the referring doctor's name.

We are entitled to 15 visits to a Psychiatrist under Medicare so long as the referral is made out as a "Mental Health Plan". I currently pay AUS$190.00 for a follow-up with my psychiatrist, the original consult was AUS$250.00 and AUS$170.00 for my son's psychologist. I then receive a rebate through Medicare.

3. I pay approx AUS$29.00 for 200 5mg tablets of Dex. It is available on the PBS (pharmacuetical benefits scheme) as is Ritalin. Concerta isn't and you have to pay full price. As you don't qualify for Medicare, I don't know what the cost to you would be.

4. Our health insurance system is totally different to the U.S. Every citizen or permanent resident contributes to Medicare through the taxation system which entitles us to free hospital cover and subsidised doctor visits and pharmaceuticals. The Gov't encourages earners of more than AUS$70K to take out private health insurance. This Private Health Insurance covers hospital stays and can be supplemented with Extra's cover for such things as pharmaceuticals, psychiatriatic care, physios, dental etc. Most people don't bother with the Extra's because the rebates aren't really worth it.

5. Check the Australian Customs website regarding the importation of prescription medication. I know that you should declare all medication, particularly Class 8 drugs such as dexamphetamine and carry either a letter from your doctor stating medical condition and medication or a prescription. You should also have the medication in its original container with all identifying information as delivered by the pharmacist. If you lose your script or medication supply it must be reported to the police as it is a controlled substance which then causes much unwanted grief for the poor psychiatrist and pharmacist.

6. Unfortunately ADHD is not recognised as a pervasive developmental order which means that children don't receive funding or assistance at school. The flow on effect is that the community has not been educated about ADHD apart from the media beatup and current affairs programs showcasing out of control children who are probably suffering with untreated disorders of a totally different nature. I wouldn't bother telling an employer, colleague or friends about an ADHD diagnosis unless that person truely understands.

I hope I have been of some help. Good luck on your move and welcome to Australia.


08-16-07, 06:22 AM
We are entitled to 15 visits to a Psychiatrist under Medicare so long as the referral is made out as a "Mental Health Plan".

Is this just in Melbourne Shelly?

Flamin Mo - wouldn't recommend coming to Perth. There's is idiot politician called Martin Whitely who has is in for anyone with ADHD and keeps getting more and more laws passed through parliament to limit our access to treatment and medication.

08-17-07, 04:53 AM
Hi Tudorose,

Is this just in Melbourne Shelly?
It was introduced (quietly) in November, 2006. As it is managed by Medicare, it is Federal and allows you access to allied mental health services. There is some inconsistency regarding number of visits, depending on who you talk to however it is clearly stated on the Medicare website - 12 annual visits with the possibility of an additional 6 in exceptional circumstances. I have been using it and it really makes a difference, financially. I don't think twice, due to cost, about making an appointment if we need it.

Centrelink has also promised a $10,000.00 payment or part payment for children under 6 with a severe disability. They are taking contact details while the program is being finalised.

I checked out Martin Whitely - it is hard to believe he was a teacher prior to entering politics given the comments and articles he has published.


08-19-07, 03:54 AM
Thanks for that info Shelly. Will be sure to check it out.

Yeah Martin Whitely is a good example of how a teaching degree doesn't teach one to think! He makes the lives of paediatricians and psychiatrist harder and harder with all the regulations and restrictions he brings in.

It's almost like he has a personal vendetta against ADD people and he continually criticises us in the media and tries to sway public opinion against us. As Perth is such a small place though almost everyone knows someone who struggles with ADD so it's beginning to become less effective.

08-21-07, 05:07 AM
Hmm. Well Shelly covered it. I am off.