Specialist Outpatients Clinics

Specialist Outpatient Clinics are medical clinics where you can see specialist doctors, allied health professionals or nurses about a specific health problem. You will need a referral from your General Practitioner (GP) or family doctor, or other health care worker to see a specialist. Specialist clinics are also called ‘outpatient’ clinics. 

Booking Your Appointment

Refer to Services | Bass Coast Health “Acute services” and “Medical Specialists”

Referral to a Specialist Outpatient Clinic can be made by your general practitioner (GP), another medical specialist or a healthcare professional, as well as hospital-based staff in the emergency department, inpatient wards and other areas of the hospital.

For further information on new referrals and services provided, please contact the Bass Coast Health (BCH) Access Team on (03) 5671 3175 or by email to access@basscoasthealth.org.au

You will be provided an appointment with the next available specialist you need, this may not always be the specialist you prefer.

Yes, you can choose to have your Outpatient consultation at a specific site if the medical speciality consults from that location. However, please note, requesting a specific location, may increase your appointment wait time.  BCH will provide you with the next available appointment time for the medical speciality at either of our sites. 

We offer Specialist Outpatient Clinics at our Wonthaggi and Phillip Island sites.  You can find further information on our locations here How do I find my way to my appointment?

Before Your Appointment

  • The Access department will aim to provide you and your referrer information about the outcome of your referral within eight working days.  
  • The wait-times for each of our services will vary depending on the demand for our services and clinical urgency of your referral.
  • All referrals are reviewed by our specialist doctors/nurses.  Based on the information provided, they determine the clinical urgency of the referral. 
  • If your referral is classified as 'urgent', we will call you and advise you of an appointment within 30 days or the earliest available date/time.
  • If your referral is classified as ‘routine’, you will receive a call and/or letter from us with either an appointment date/time or notification to advise you have been added to our service waitlist. Please note, the wait time for our routine appointments can vary depending on the service.  
  • For state-wide information regarding Specialist Clinic wait times, please see Specialist clinics | Victorian Agency for Health Information

  • Referrals from your GP to a specialist are generally valid for up to 12 months, unless stated otherwise.
  • Referrals from medical specialists and other consultant physicians are valid for 3 months 
  • The referral validity period begins from the date you have your first appointment with the Specialist Outpatient Clinic.

  • Specialist Outpatient Services are available at select public hospitals or through private hospitals and clinics.  A list of Specialist clinic locations is available via the Department of Health website.
  • Each hospital or clinic will likely have different specialities and specialists available and waiting times may vary.  Your GP may be able to assist you in finding the right speciality service and specialist to meet your specific needs.  You can view state-wide estimated specialist clinic wait times on the Home page | Victorian Agency for Health Information website.
  • If you choose to see a specialist in a private clinic, you will often need to pay the specialist’s fee for service.  These fees may not be reimbursed (in part or full) from Medicare.  However, if you have private health cover, it may reimburse you for some or all of the cost.

  • You can ask to be referred to BCH if the Medical Specialist you saw at a private clinic also works at BCH. You can search for specialists at BCH through Find a Doctor | Bass Coast Health 
  • However, please note that BCH will provide you with the next available theatre time and surgeon for the medical speciality and procedure you require.  This will ensure that you get the surgery you need at the earliest available date and time. You may not have the same surgeon that you saw during your private consultation.
  • If you have seen a Medical Specialist who doesn’t work at BCH, you may ask your GP for a referral to the medical specialty you require. You will then receive a notification that we have added you to our service waitlist to see one of our Medical Specialists.

  • If you are concerned about managing your condition while you wait for an appointment, you may wish to speak to the doctor who referred you and discuss the options available to you. They may be able to suggest treatments to assist you while you are waiting to see a hospital specialist. 
  • Your local doctor is usually the best person to manage your health until you are seen within our clinics. Contact them if you are concerned about a decline in your condition.  They are able to provide an additional referral and advise us if your condition is deteriorating.  We are then able to review the referral. 
  • Specialist Outpatients Clinics do not provide an emergency medical service.  If you require emergency or urgent care, call ‘000’ for an ambulance or attend your closest Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre. 
  • After-hours support for your health condition may be found here After-hours services - Gippsland Primary Health Network, After-hours health services | healthdirect and NURSE-ON-CALL: 1300 60 60 24 | healthdirect.



During Your Appointment
What happens at a clinic appointment?
  • Appointments at our specialist outpatient clinics can occur in person, via telehealth video conference, and telephone call appointments. 
  • A specialist doctor, allied health professional or nurse will talk to you about your health. Sometimes you might see more than one health professional. They may arrange tests for you or other treatment. 
  • You can eat or drink before your appointment unless we tell you not to. 
  • If attending an appointment in person, please report to the Outpatient reception and let staff know you have arrived.
What do I do if I can’t come to my appointment?
  • If you need to cancel or change your appointment, please call the Outpatient department, on (03) 5671 4226, between 8:30am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Tell us as soon as possible if you cannot come.  You can contact us to cancel or to make a new appointment time.  If you are unable to come, we can give your appointment time to someone else who can come, this helps us reduce waiting times for everyone. If you do not come to two appointments and do not tell us beforehand, you will not be given another appointment and will need a new referral for a new appointment to be given.
What do I do if I no longer need an appointment?
  • Please tell us as soon as possible if you no longer need your appointment or if you are receiving treatment elsewhere.  If you no longer need an appointment, we can give your appointment time to someone else who can come, this helps us reduce waiting times for everyone.
  • If you are yet to receive an appointment date and no longer need our services, please contact the Access department, on (03) 5671 3175, between 8:30am – 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
  • If you have been provided with an appointment date and no longer need it, please call the Outpatient department, on (03) 5671 4226, between 8:30am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.
Extra supports available to help you access the care you need

Please call the Outpatient department, on (03) 5671 4226, between 8:30am – 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, to let us know in advance if extra supports are required. We can help arrange these in advance, such as:

What if I need an interpreter? 
  • Please let us know in advance if you need an interpreter and we can provide one for your appointment. Bass Coast Health can provide an interpreter service via Language Loop or Telephone Interpreting Service (TIS National).  There is no cost to you if you have a current Medicare card.
  • For further information about BCH interpreter services, please click here Interpreter Service | Bass Coast Health 
Interpreter graphics for website
What do I need to bring to my outpatient appointments?

Please bring the following with you to your appointment: 

  • Your letter or appointment via phone
  • Your Medicare card
  • Your Department of Veterans’ Affairs card, Healthcare card, Pension Card (if you have one)
  • An up-to-date list of your medications
  • Any relevant test results or scans that you have had done in preparation for your appointment (if you have any)
  • Your current GP’s Name, address, and phone number
  • Your Transport Accident Commission (TAC) or WorkCover claim numbers (if you have one)
  • Your Advanced Care Directive (if you have one)
  • You can also prepare a list of any questions you want to ask your specialist
  • You are welcome to bring a friend, relative, supporter or carer with you to the specialist clinic appointment.
My appointment is scheduled via Telehealth, how can I access my Telehealth appointment?
How do I find my way to my appointment?

We provide Specialist Outpatient Clinic appointments at our Wonthaggi and Cowes locations.

Parking and public transport
  • Car parking is available on the hospital grounds and is free of charge.  Disabled parking spaces are located close to entrances.
  • A bus stop for public transport is located at the back of Wonthaggi Hospital on Baillieu Street West. For further information on public transport in Bass Coast please click 
    Car Parking and Public Transport
Can I get any assistance for transport and/or accommodation to access my appointments?
  • Where required, support for travel to and from your non-urgent medical appointments may be provided by BCH Volunteer Transport for those in need. 

A risk assessment is completed to ensure your safety and the safety of our drivers. It is a requirement that you are able to independently car transfer. Those in need are advised to contact BCH Volunteer Transport support directly on (03) 5671 3372

Bookings are limited, prioritised and it is recommended that requests are made 2 weeks in advance.  

  • The Victorian Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) is a Victorian Government initiative that helps rural and remote Victorians with travel and accommodation costs when they need to travel more than 100 kilometres to see their closest medical specialist.

Those eligible for support will receive:

  • 21 cents per kilometre if a private car is used
  • Taxi travel reimbursement - only to or from the nearest public transport when there are no other transport options
  • Accommodation assistance may be available up to a maximum of $45 ($49.50 inc GST)
  • The scheme has a contribution threshold of $100 for non-concession card holders
  • A reimbursement claim form is required to be lodged within 12 months of attending your appointment and may take 6-8 weeks to process.

For further information or questions contact the VPTAS Office on 1300 737 073 or email vptas@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Do I need to pay for my appointment?
  •  If you have a current Medicare card do not need to pay. If you do not have a Medicare Card or you are an overseas visitor, please tell us as you will need to pay for your appointment.
What happens after my appointment?
  • Your specialist will discuss with you if they need to see you again. They will talk to you about what will happen next and what you need to do.
  • With your consent, we will share information about your care plan with you, your GP and other health professionals involved in your care.
After Your Appointment
What do I do if I change my GP?
  • If you are waiting to receive your first appointment date, please contact the Access department, on (03) 5671 3175 to update your information within our patient management systems.
  • If you have attended your first appointment with the Outpatient clinic, please contact the Outpatient department on (03) 5671 4226 to update your information within our patient management systems.
  • Please tell us when you attend your next appointment.
What if I don’t have a GP?
  • If you don’t have a current GP, we encourage you to find one.  Specialists deal with a specific aspect of your health for a limited time, while a GP will help you to manage your overall health in the longer term.  A GP will help you to stay well when you either no longer need specialist care or are in-between visits to a specialist and making sure any new health problems or complications are diagnosed and treated as early as possible.      
  • You can use an online service finder to Find a GP (General Practice) near you.  

I have been discharged from a BCH Specialist Outpatient Clinic and I need to be re-referred for the same problem. Do I need another referral?
  • If your condition has deteriorated and/or you require further specialist care input, please discuss this with your GP or treating doctor.  
  • Where required, your GP or treating doctor can provide a renewed referral requesting further specialist care input and advise of your current status.  Your renewed referral will be triaged and assessed for urgency.
How can I give feedback regarding my healthcare?
  • BCH has a variety of ways to provide feedback including in-person, phone, by email/letter or online. 
  • Care Opinion is a safe and anonymous public website where you can share your story. You can tell us about your experience, good or bad.  You can access Care Opinion at www.careopinion.org.au 
  • Alternatively, you can contact our Quality Office on (03) 5671 3365, Monday – Friday between 8am and 5pm.  Or, write to us via email Quality@basscoasthealth.org.au  or a letter can be posted to either the Quality Office or our CEO, PO Box 120, Wonthaggi, 3995.
  • For further information about the feedback options at BCH, please visit Feedback | Bass Coast Health
What are my rights and responsibilities?
  • Bass Coast Health acts in accordance with the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. For further information on the Charter of Healthcare Rights please visit Rights and Responsibilities | Bass Coast Health
  • Bass Coast Health collects personal, health and sensitive information to help us determine the right care and treatment for you. Our staff are bound by strict rules about how your personal and health information can be used. You can ask to see the information we have through the Freedom of Information (FOI) process. Further information can be found by visiting Privacy and Confidentiality | Bass Coast Health