2 Dr Michelle Atkinson Orthopaedic Surgeon Dee Why Eastwood and Wahroonga

When I did my first post on Dr Atkinson on 24 Nov 2012, she had 3 ratings on the RateMDs website – now she has 11, averaging 7.4 out of 10, a “mixed bag” if ever there was a “mixed bag.”

In terms of these ratings, it may be that the best that can be said about her is that she may be a very good surgeon but has a very bad bedside manner – “the personality of a rattlesnake” according to one of my readers.

One thing of note is that she now seems to have an ordinary email address readily available – michatk4@tpg.com.au – see this link, which she didn’t have in November 2012, which I’ve tested and it seems to work.

Perhaps a good person to get a first or second or third opinion from, if she would give it to you in writing. I believe the proper approach in such circumstances would be to see her in person, and then send her an email along the lines of, “When I saw you today I understood you to be telling me blah blah blah blah. Have I got this right?” And of course, if  she didn’t respond to your email and/or if you found her bedside manner too much to take, give her a miss. And, of course, whatever happens report you experience on the RateMDs website or to this blog.

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10 Comments on Comments

One of my readers has sent me this comment on this post:-

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While I greatly appreciate the comment, it’s pretty straightforward stuff – under our rotten, (why do I keep wanting to add “stinking” to “rotten” – perhaps I will!) NSW health systems, the very doctors who you’d like to be able to get some compensation from because of how they’ve treated you are going to fight you tooth and nail, through the courts, if necessary, and the very first thing they are going to do is not provide you with copies of your health records, even though the law, (ha ha ha! ha ha ha!) says they should, or if they do, you find the records have been so “doctored” that they bear no resemblance to your recollection of what was said and done. And, of course, they know that no one is going to lift a finger if they don’t – least of all, Barry O’Farrell, Jillian Skinner, Mary Foley and Kieran Pehm.

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1 Dr Patrick Chew GP Provincial Medical Centre St Clair

Dr Chew has a rating on the RateMDs website in which he is described as rude and ignorant. A GP working in a medical centre without even a basic website and no email addresses who gets a rating like that – what could be worse?

But Dr Chew probably doesn’t care because, presumably, he’s getting his fair share of patients.

These may be harsh words, but it seems to me that those relying on doctors like this to help manage their health are being completely negligent – but obviously many people are.

Please! Please! Please! On anything at all serious, please find someone better – even if you have to travel a bit.

A 15 Apr 2014 update: This is a pattern that’s become so familiar to followers of this blog – (1) a terrible rating on a doctor appears on the RateMDs website, (2) I put up a post drawing attention to it, and, (3) the very next day, a second rating appears saying that he or she may be the very best doctor there’s ever been. This has happened with Dr Chew.

It’s almost as if there are people out there who, as soon a bad rating on a doctor appears anywhere, contact the doctor and ask him if he or she would like them to put up a great rating and they say, “Yes.”

If only he had an email address we could find out more about him!

I’ve just rung up his practice and asked my usual question – “Does Dr Chew have an email address for his patients?’ and been told “No!” I didn’t do this yesterday as I was confident he wouldn’t.

“One of the most dedicated doctors that I have come across,” says the new rating. A dedicated doctor” without an email address for his patients!!!??? You’re joking!

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27 The O’Farrell government and the NSW health systems

Why doesn’t this surprise me?

If we are to believe a rating on Dr Richard Lawson on the RateMDs.com website, the Practitioner Indemnity Insurance section of the Avant Insurance company won’t allow doctors insured with them to provide their patients with copies of their health records – in other words they stipulate that the doctors should break the law.

(Various names are used for the records doctors put together on patients, “clinical notes,” “medical notes” etc. but I’ll use the name used by the Act of Parliament in relation to them – “health records.”)

It mainly doesn’t surprise me, because when I did everything I could to get the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, the Director General of NSW Health Mary Foley and the Health Care Complaints Commissioner, Kieran Pehm interested in the fact that I was being told that Primary Health Care Limited was taking patients’ health records to the rubbish tip, all the indications were that they couldn’t care less. Could there be any greater indication that the NSW health systems are rotten under the watch of these people?

And would Ramsay Health Care care that patients in their hospitals couldn’t get copies of their health records when things had gone wrong? Of course not.

Posted in The O'Farrell government and the NSW health system | 1 Comment

9 Comments on Comments

I’ve received this comment from one of my readers, in relation to the hand surgeon, Dr Anthony Beard – a “kpk”:-

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I’ve tried to explain my position many times, but I’ll have another go.

There are about 40,000 doctors in Sydney, and many of my readers and I are trying to find which ones out of these 40,000 are best to see and which ones are “waste of time” doctors, and are looking for any clues or indications which might help us – on the assumption, (which I would have thought was obvious – but perhaps not to “kpk,”) that we can’t try out all of the potentially suitable ones ourselves. And to me, easily the best clues or indications are what they have to say, and emails are easily the most efficient and effective way of finding out what they have to say. And, if they haven’t got an email address they are not even putting themselves in the mix.

It’s not my position that you can judge a doctor by whether they have an email address, but that you can judge a doctor by what he or she has to say on various matters, and emails are easily the most efficient way of finding out what they have to say.

With specialists, my practice now is to email them and ask them if the matters on which I need help are within their specialisations – and it’s worked very well. And, if I’d been doing it earlier, I believe it would have saved me a great deal of time, trouble and expense   – especially with a couple of ophthalmologists who I have written about extensively. (I was referred to them by an optometrist on the basis that his mother-in-law used them!!!??? – obviously he didn’t know how bad they were.)

I use a heart specialist who has an email address and answers emails. The last time I saw him in November 2013, he was so pleased with the results of his tests that he said I didn’t need to see him again for another year, although I could, of course, see him at any time if I was concerned about anything. Lately I have been concerned with certain developments and I know I can email him asking whether I am worrying unnecessarily, or whether I should go and see him again – and with a simple “Yes” or “No” email from him, my situation can be managed in the best way possible.

Often after a face to face consultation with a doctor you can be not quite sure what they said, and with an email along the lines of, “In my consultation with you today I understood you to say blah blah blah – have I got this right?” misunderstandings can be avoided.

And a big advantage is that emails from doctors can be easily circulated amongst our friends and relatives to help them see good doctors and avoid seeing “waste of time” doctors, and on blogs like this.

My postion is this – within the 40,000 doctors in Sydney there is a community of those who have ordinary email addresses and who answer emails, a community which is constantly growing on a daily basis. Of course, there are lots of doctors, who don’t have email addresses, perhaps lots of really good ones, but the advantages of dealing with members of this community are so great for us consumers of health care services that, all things being equal, we should always seek to deal with them first.

Incidentally, as an example of a doctor who’s a member of this community, you couldn’t get a better example than the psychiatrist Dr Mark Rowe – see this post.

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1 Dr Sarah Barrand GP of the Crestwood Family Practice Bella Vista

A GP with one 10 out of 10 rating, (albeit a vague general one,) on the RateMDs website, in an apparently well run practice with a website and an ordinary email address.

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87 Bits and Pieces

One of my readers has urged me to do a post on the difference between the Google ratings and the ratings on Facebook on the one hand and those on the RateMDs website on the other, and has pointed to the Google ratings on one doctor which are almost all great and those on the RateMDs website lots of which  are quite poor.

There does seem to be quite a difference.

What do you think?

I seem to recall one of my readers – I forget which one – telling me that she had great difficulty putting up a poor rating on one of the rating websites, and even after they’d put one up for her she kept getting emails urging her to take it down.

Perhaps bad ratings were bad for advertising revenue. This doesn’t seem to be the case with RateMDs. But I don’t really know.

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1 Dr Nathan Hartin Spine Surgeon Crows Nest

I don’t think anyone puts a rating up the RateMDs website like the one someone has put up on Dr Hartin unless the author/patient feels that his or her relationship with the doctor has broken down completely – that all attempts to have the doctor take an interest in their ongoing problems have failed, that the doctor has washed his or her hands of them, that they have to go elsewhere for help.

Presumably, emails the patient has sent to Dr Hartin – because he does have an ordinary email address on his website – have been ignored.

Obviously for doctors and dentists who are still in business a lot of things must go right – otherwise they wouldn’t still be in business. And almost certainly things sometimes go wrong for even the best doctors and dentists. So what we as health care services consumers have to be interested in is finding which doctors and dentists perform well if things go wrong in OUR case. If the author of the rating we have referred to is to be believed, you couldn’t get a doctor who performs worse when things go wrong than Dr Hartin.

If he or she is to be believed, Dr Hartin thinks he can get away with cries for help from at least one of his patients. One of the aims of this blog is to try and ensure that doctors and dentists can’t get with cries for help for even one of their patients without it damaging their reputation.

In times past I used to send emails to doctors like Dr Hartin asking them if such poor ratings were of concern to them – but I’ve learnt the hard way that the Nathan Hartins of this world never respond. If they don’t respond to emails from their patients, they would be hardly likely to respond to me.

But I might just send Dr Hartin a link to this post – but I know in advance that it will be ignored. That’s what Nathan Hartins are like.

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14 Primary Health Care Limited – the public company listed on the Australian stock exchange

To be fair, when the Whitlam government introduced Medicare in the 1970s, it probably didn’t count on the the likes of Dr Ed Bateman making a science out of delivering the absolute least possible to patients through his Primary Health Care Limited in return for the Medicare fees in order to make himself worth half a billion dollars.

I hate Dr Bateman for a couple of very good reasons I’ve written about in the past, and he obviously hates me – I had the temerity to complain to him about one of his doctors.

I’ve actually had someone ring me claiming to be one of Dr Bateman’s sons, (he may have been for all I know,) offering to pay me money to “lay off” my criticisms of Primary and asking if I had “a figure in mind” and following up with an email – of which Dr Bateman would claim he had no knowledge I’m sure.

But what about these things?

Someone puts up a terrible rating on Dr Jamileh Mirzadeh, one of Primary’s doctors in it’s Castle Towers Centre at Castle Hill on the RateMDs website, and it’s followed up by what can only be described as an advertorial for Primary, beginning with:-

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A Primary GP fixing mental health problems??? – the mind boggles. In practice I don’t think many of even the best GPs are able to fix mental health problems.

I’ve criticised Primary heavily for not having email addresses for their doctors and management – I’ve even experienced personally that when a centre was taken over by them the email addresses previously available became no longer available. So the rating on Dr Mirzadeh includes, “She also provides her email and mobile to her regular patients.” I’d be astonished of this wasn’t a lie – perhaps my readers could check.

And, in between two terrible ratings on the RateMDs website on Dr Henry Stenning, one of Primary’s doctors at it’s Parramatta Central centre, is a similar rating that begins with:-

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Both ratings push the line that it’s SO great that you can’t make appointments in Primary centres – you can just drop in any time!!!??? Does Dr Bateman think we’re stupid? – I’m sure he does! One reader has told me they waited for 4 hours to see a doctor in a Primary centre. And I’ve seen with my own eyes a sign in the Castle Hill centre along the lines of, “If you don’t respond when your name is called you will go to the end of the queue – no exceptions allowed.” So you can’t even go to the toilet while you’re waiting!!!

Dr Bateman wouldn’t know anything about these things, I’m sure – at least that’s what he’d say.

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1 Dr Thomas Luong Psychiatrist Cabramatta

According to a media release on 1 Apr 2014 by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission:-

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As a result, on 6 Dec 2013, the Committee found proved that Dr Luong:-

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You can hardly imagine a psychiatrist who’s more a “waste of time” psychiatrist than one who doesn’t know medications well enough to not give his patients medications that will do them good but instead gives them medications that do them harm. I’d love to take these findings up with Dr Luong, but he doesn’t appear to have an email address.

Perhaps a psychiatrist not to see.

Note: You might note that it took nearly 4 months from the date of the Committee’s findings until the HCCC’s media release to warn us health care service consumers about Dr Luong. I wish some of my readers would take up with the completely and utterly useless NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner and the completely and utterly useless NSW Health Care Complaints Commissioner Kieran Pehm why delays like this ALWAYS happen. I’m sick of complaining myself and being totally ignored. Perhaps if more people complained they’d take some notice – although perhaps not.

Also, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, (AHPRA,) has on Dr Luong’s entry on it’s Registers of Practitioners a long list of the conditions imposed on his practice – but, typically, not the date they were imposed.

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