The doctor will see you… never. Issues with online referral services.

‘a well person who simply needs a letter to see a specialist should be able to get one without requiring a GP consultation’

Why does a ‘well person’ need to see a medical subspecialist rather than a specialist in Primary Care – their GP?
They don’t need a letter to ‘see a specialist’. Anyone can see a subspecialist doctor in Australia by paying their own money for it. A GP referral is only needed so that the patient may receive a Medicare rebate for the subsequent subspecialist consultation.
A referral is a formal transfer or handover of care from one doctor to another. I don’t think the Qoctor AI measures up.

It’s all artificial and no intelligence.

Doctor's Bag


There are many benefits of online health services and they can complement traditional face-to-face GP visits. But there are also examples that raise questions.

The young woman was in tears. When she came in she had initially asked for a referral to a surgeon for a breast augmentation. During the conversation it turned out that her partner had made it clear that her breasts were too small.

We ended up having a chat about relationships and body image. At the end of the consultation she decided she needed some time to think things over and talk to good friends, and that she would come back if she needed further assistance.

The problem with online referrals

At first sight, the Qoctor website seems an easy, convenient online medical service that provides sick certificates and referrals.

The site tells visitors: “(…) we understand that a well person who simply needs a letter to see a specialist should…

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