Patient Information

Referrals

We are a referral based practice. Medicare insists on a valid referral before a patient’s appointment can occur. Patients should ask for a referral to Dr Altmann by their GP, Specialist or Dentist.

We need to view all referrals before an appointment can be made. Please ask your referring practitioner to send us a referral by encrypted email, fax, mail or delivery by patient.

Dr Altmann views all referrals and triages patients according to clinical urgency. Children are usually prioritised over adults.

We request that patients allow one working day after referral and then phone Bev on 07 47289886 to make an appointment.

We do not ring patients to make appointments. We do not book appointments online, by email or without a referral.

Military

Soldiers and ADF personnel who think they may require an Ear, Nose or Throat operation can ask that their ADF Doctor specify Dr Altmann in their request for referral rather than providing a generic “Ear, Nose, Throat Surgeon “referral.

Dr Altmann understands the unusual demands that military life imposes on ADF personnel, their partners and children. He also understands the sacrifices made by military veterans. We welcome serving and previous ADF members and their partners and children and are proud to have them as patients.

 

Remote North Queensland Community

Dr Altmann has visited many remote North Queensland communities as a volunteer with the Deadly Ears Program and the previous Qld ENT Outreach Program and understands the difficulties imposed by distance for adults and children in remote Queensland locations to gain the best surgical care.

Urgent Conditions

If you have an urgent condition, please ask your referring practitioner to ring Bev directly to expedite your appointment.

Children

Children are encouraged to be involved in their treatment from the beginning, with important considerations such as “no needles” and “ice cream” stressed right from the first consultation.

We encourage parents and children to visit Mater Children’s Ward preoperatively (Covid permitting) so they see this as a friendly place and are not overwhelmed on the day of surgery.

We encourage children to provide a description of their hospital stay in the form of drawings to help them make the most of their visit and to help us to improve the experience for the next child to visit hospital.

For needle phobic adults requiring surgery, gaseous induction (no needle while awake) can usually be arranged in consultation with our anaesthetists.


Health Funds

We deal with all major health funds such as
  • Qld Country Health
  • Defence Health
  • Teachers’ Union Health
  • Police Health
  • Railway and Transport Health
  • Medibank Private
  • BUPA

We offer “Known Gap” billing in most instances.

Exceptions to this are for major head and neck surgery such as neck dissection, oral cancer surgery, parotidectomy and rhinoplasty where the complexity, time taken for surgery, and included after care are not appropriately reflected by the health funds’ rebates.


Health Fund Notes

Most health funds impose 12 month waiting periods prior to covering pre existing conditions.

While we are not able to recommend particular health funds, we do recommend that patients consider not – for – profit funds which seem to be easier to deal with for patients and for us.

Patients should check portability of cover between funds and whether already served waiting periods are re applied (they should not be.)

Please check your policy for exclusions. Some funds exclude rhinoplasty even when required for functional conditions such as nasal obstruction.


Operation Day

Where

Dr Altmann currently only performs his elective surgery at Mater Hospital Pimlico, 21-35 Fulham Rd. He shares on call emergency work at Townsville University Hospital and only performs surgery there out of normal working hours and only for emergency cases.

Fasting Times

When your operation is booked we will provide information on admission and fasting times.

Currently most patients are to be nil by mouth for 6 hours before their anticipated operation time to prevent regurgitation of stomach contents on induction of anaesthesia, except for clear fluids (water, black tea or coffee, clear fruit juice)  being allowed until 2 hours prior to anticipated operation time to maintain comfort.

Medications

At the time of booking, we will discuss your medications to be taken or withheld on the day of surgery with you.

Anticoagulants

In consultation with your cardiologist, any blood thinners such as Aspirin, Plavix, Co-Plavix, Warfarin (Coumadin or Marevan),Novel Oral Anti-Coagulants (dabigatran or Pradaxa, apixaban or Eliquis, rivaroxaban or Xarelto , fondaparinix or Arixtra), enoxaparin (Clexane),or Heparin will usually be ceased for a few days, or in the case of Aspirin, 10 days preoperatively and for similar periods postoperatively.

Diabetes

Diabetic medication such as Insulin and oral hypoglycaemics such as Metformin and others will usually be withheld on the morning of surgery while the patient is fasting in order to avoid hypoglycaemic episodes.

All other usual medications should be taken as per usual on the morning of surgery with a sip of water or clear fruit juice.

Smoking

Smoking should be ceased a week before surgery but at the latest on the night before surgery.  

When

We do try to stagger admission times but patients do need to be in the ward and prepared for surgery well before their operation time in case other patients are unwell or cancel their surgery on the day so there will always be some waiting time before your operation.

It generally takes 1-2 hours between presenting to hospital for admission and being ready for surgery in the ward.

Sometimes operation times are unavoidably altered due to emergencies or other factors outside our control. We understand that delays and extra waiting are frustrating for patients and family. These delays are just as frustrating for us.

What to Bring

Please bring books, magazines, newspapers, laptops, music or other entertainment to stay occupied while awaiting your operation.

Please bring your usual medications, toothbrush, toiletries and a change of clothes.

Who to Bring

Especially with Covid, there may be limits on how many visitors or family members and friends who accompany you on the day of surgery. Mater Hospital ph 07 47274444 can advise you about visitor numbers.

If Unwell

If you or your child develops fever (temperature greater than 37.5 C) on the evening before surgery or the morning of surgery, acute tonsillitis, or new sore throat or new runny nose, cold or flu symptoms then it is best to phone Mater Pimlico on (07) 4727 4444 and cancel your operation.

Please don’t attend the hospital if any of these conditions develop as in current Covid times, you will likely not be allowed to enter hospital by the Mater.

Even in non Covid times Dr Altmann would prefer that you cancel your procedure and don’t attend on the day, understanding that this will be inconvenient for you. This is because surgery on you or your child in these circumstances will have much increased risks of complication such as pain, bleeding, incomplete surgery and revision surgery, as well as increased risk of pneumonia.

If a patient is acutely unwell in the ward preoperatively, Dr Altmann and his anaesthetist will review them and consult and in most cases cancel surgery and reschedule it for 2-3 weeks later or at another time of the patient’s choosing.

Copyright © 2021 Ear, Nose, Throat Surgery North Qld. All Rights Reserved.