So today I have to go to the Medical Centre to renew meds

This used to be simple. Go to the Medical Centre with no appointment, walk in, wait… Then off to the pharmacy next door, get the meds and then go to the Club for lunch. Only at the pharmacy did any money change hands.

Not any more.

I had the sense to phone yesterday as these days walk-ins are not always able to see someone then and there — except for emergencies obviously. I managed an appointment for today but not until 3.30 pm. And that was for “any doctor” rather than Dr Nguyen, my regular one, as I just need scripts. Mind you I should be doing more but that will have to wait.

But folks, things are changing:

Another Wollongong practice offers more information, and this will no doubt be parallel to my medical centre:

Changes to Bulk Billing

Medicare rebates are payments to patients to assist in the cost of health care.

Bulk billing is where a Doctor agrees to bill Medicare directly, and accepts the Medicare Rebate as the entire payment for the medical service provided.

Unfortunately, Medicare Rebates have not kept pace with inflation

Medicare Rebates do not reflect the cost of delivering high quality general practice services.

The cost of operating a medical practice rises on average by 4.8% per year.

Medicare Rebates rose on average by 1.9% per year between 2007 and 2010.

Rebates were then FROZEN between 2011 and 2014.

Between 2018 and now they have risen on average just 1.4% per year.

This significant shortfall is now severely affecting the viability of General Practices, including their ability to maintain their premises, update their equipment and systems, and train and retain their staff.

As a result of this longstanding Government inaction on Medicare Rebates, many practices have stopped bulk billing, and the Doctors practicing from the Illawarra Family Medical Centre will be significantly reducing their rate of bulk billing.

From 1st November 2022, many patients (including health care card holders and pensioners) who have been bulk billed will be required to pay a fee at the time of their consultation.

​The practice can transmit your claim to Medicare following payment, and the rebate will paid directly into your bank accounts.

​This has been a difficult decision for us, and we understand you may have concerns, which you may also discuss with your Doctor.

Please contact the Health Minister or your local MP and request they lobby for meaningful increases in Medicare Rebates so that healthcare can remain affordable.

Check this news item from two months ago:

And see this from 12 August 2022: Why is my doctor no longer bulk billing and is Medicare in crisis?

If you recently received an email or text from your GP clinic saying they can no longer routinely bulk bill even concession cardholders, you’re not alone.

As Guardian Australia revealed this year, policy experts believe the high rates of bulk billing reported by the previous government were artificially inflated by noncompliant billing practices, and the statistics don’t reflect the number of people saying it is hard, or even impossible, to find a bulk-billing doctor.

The federal health minister, Mark Butler, acknowledged the difficulty in finding a bulk-billing doctor, saying, “Primary care is in its worst shape since Medicare began.” …

Six years ago

I may add to this post later today, after I have seen the doctor.

4.15 pm

So on the way I called in to City Diggers.

Walking to the Medical Centre afterwards I saw some activity on the Church Street/Mall intersection.

The year has just flown by!

Dr C was friendly. The blood pressure was acceptable. The meds were renewed.

And I was bulk billed.

Second-last NRL round, Woolies, and lunches…

So here we go for the second-last time with my very distant entry via Rosemary in the Pottsville Tipping Comp!

This guru with the wonderful accent actually had the same outcome last week as I did — 6/8. I did not look at the Round 24 video until after doing my own tips. So same or different?

Good! Lots of disagreements! For the life of me I can’t see that what happened in 2015 or whenever has any bearing at all on 2022!

So yesterday I received a Woolies order I had made online on Monday. I am still nursing that hand, so stayed at home Monday instead of going to the club. Col MacDonald phoned me around 11am to see where I was, which was nice. Of course that meant lunch at home and supplies needed. Monday’s lunch was a Woolies chilled pea and ham soup. The Woolies chilled soups are very good.

So the order I made on Monday I had booked to be delivered between 7am and noon on Tuesday, It arrived at my door at 7.15am!

Lunch yesterday included one of the items in that order: a Garlo’s chilled beef sausage roll. “Finely minced beef, freshly diced onion and Garlo’s special blend of spices wrapped in a mouth-watering, flaky pastry roll.” I have always found Garlo’s products good.

After lunch there was a sudden change in the weather here in West Wollongong.

Footy tipping Round 23 and other matters

Yes, a reasonable result for me in a round where there were some amazing results!

And the hand struggles on. This is an item Dr Bing (a relative of Dr Google) throws up.

Our hands are practically always in use. And, when they are not, we still need to know that they are healthy and working! When you experience a sprain, strain, fracture, or torn tendon in the hand, it can make daily tasks difficult, painful, and nearly impossible to perform.

So lunch yesterday involved minimum prep.

A Woolies chilled chicken dinner — just microwave and eat. I have certainly had worse.

Nice day outside yesterday, though I did not venture far and propose a quiet one today as well.

The view south from a couple of doors down from my place…

Tomorrow I plan to catch up on some of the Ukraine vlogs I follow, less with an emphasis on the politics and more on how people live….

The story of The Hand continued… And the Bunnies did very very well but lost…

Important things first.

The Hand

… is a tad sore this morning.

My FB posts from the Medical Centre and later from Diggers attracted quite a few well-wishers. Thanks all! It was also the first time at the Medical Centre that I could be like everyone else — sitting there playing with a smart phone!

From Diggers I rang Sirdan in New Zealand on said smart phone. He had sad news about Missy the Jack Russell, unfortunately — still with us but much depleted from the pup of 11 years ago:

Sirdan and Missy in Rosebery, Christmas 2011

On FB I wrote:

Had a phone chat with Sirdan in NZ who (I saw on WP) had read today’s blog post. He was most impressed with the fact my dealing with the Medical Centre took just one hour — without appointment — between coming in and telling the receptionist I have an injured hand to walking into the next-door pharmacy with my prescription.

Sirdan — a wonderful old friend in whose company in Potts Point I saw in the new millennium — does not use FB.

At the Medical Centre I had seen a Dr T — as I said again on FB.

Not my usual doc — but I have seen her before, usually if I am injured as a few years back when I was run over by a car! Yes, the tendon. She gave me an antibiotic as well. My BP was surprisingly normal.

Indulging now in a very slow Shiraz. With my left hand of course.

I opted for a hands-free lunch, as far as possible and scored a very healthy sandwich indeed!

That’s a regular, Croatian Philip, in the top right corner. As I was talking to Sirdan another club friend, Adam, walked by and in due course Col MacDonald came in.

Adam at City Diggers 2017

There was also a rather amazing woman I have seen at Diggers and the Leagues Club many times — and she greeted me by name. Naturally the senior moment set in so I could not quite reciprocate, but did recall eventually. Shirley! So I made a point later as a bit of a joke of using her name and talking about senior moments — how I had once been told one strategy: call everyone “mate”, gender no barrier!

Turns out Shirley was named after you know who:

Further, Shirley — the one in the Club — was born in 1933! You would not believe it by looking at her!

No Shiraz today or the next few days as the Doc prescribed Cephalexin which I started on this morning.

Injured my right hand… But footy tipping done.

I am as usual writing this “yesterday” and here is the story as I told it on Facebook.

Damn! While cooking my snags I made an awkward move removing the lid of my frying pan and (would you believe it) seem to have either dislocated the joint where the index finger joins the hand or injured a tendon there! Called 000 not that I needed an ambulance but to access via the ambulance some online advice. Eventually a nurse of subcontinental background spoke to me and with an occasional glitch from accent difficulties I got what I needed to know. Consulted Dr Google as well.

Looks like I will be visiting the Medical Centre tomorrow. The injury does not seem too severe.

“Tomorrow” of course means later this morning. And here is the hand as of yesterday at 2 pm:

The offending lunch was OK though….

Yesterday also I shared this on Facebook:

The painting.

My sister-in-law Aileen painted this. I told the story in August 2020 of its arrival. Link below.

Here it is on my wall just now. It is also an exercise in my learning the Nokia C30’s camera.

See the August 2020 post:

Bird flies in at last

Posted on  by Neil

This bird:


That painting of a Palm Cockatoo is by my sister-in-law Aileen….

Which just leaves footy tipping….

Re the hand

Thanks for the good wishes I have seen on Facebook this morning. I am tossing up between going to the Wollongong Hospital ER (which the nurse I spoke to over the phone yesterday suggested) or the Medical Centre. The hand is maybe slightly better. Slept well.