Welcome to Dr Arno
I am a Paediatrician and help improving the health and well-being of children from 0-18 years.
I love the tropics and decided to make Cairns my home when I moved here in October 2018. I am dedicated to providing a strong and lasting Paediatric Specialist Service for the Children and their families in Cairns and surrounding area.
While my clinic is a private specialist clinic, I believe in health care for all and I do offer reduced fees for Health Care Card Holders and bulk billed appointments for Pensioner Concession Card holders and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Families.
I am offering school clinics for students of Cairns West State School, Balaclava State School, Woree State School, and Trinity Beach State School. These clinics are for families holding a Centrelink Card or are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Origin. For an appointment at a school clinic, please discuss with your school’s guidance officer or head of special education.
If you would like an appointment for your child, please see your GP for a referral and you will hear back from us within two days.
|Monday||08:00 – 18:00|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 18:00|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00|
|Friday||08:00 – 18:00|
|Saturday||12:00 – 16:00 – Twice Monthly Clinic|
|Sunday||10:00 – 14:00 – Once Monthly Clinic|
- Australian Medical Association
- Academy of Child and Adolescent Health Australia
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy
- Australian Pain Society, Special Interest Group Pain in Childhood
- Paediatric Society of Germany (DGKJ)
- International Society of Travel Medicine
- Worldwise Travel Health Medicine
Born in Switzerland and growing up in Germany I worked and lived in the USA, Canada, Philippines, Bangladesh, New Zealand and finally Australia. My initial career was studying Geophysics, and I trained as a Paediatric nurse in Berlin, Germany. While working as a Paediatric nurse I realised how much I love medicine and helping children and their families, and I decided to study medicine. I specialised as a Paediatrician at the Ernst Moritz Arndt University Children’s Hospital in Greifswald, Germany with part of my advanced training in New Orleans, USA and Hamilton, Canada.
I worked in child nutrition, immunology and neonatology research in Germany and as a volunteer Paediatrician in the impoverished areas of Manila, Philippines and Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Later I registered as a Paediatric specialist consultant in New Zealand and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. From 2008-2015 I worked as a Paediatrician and senior lecturer in General Paediatrics and Paediatric Haematology/Oncology in Timaru and Wellington, New Zealand before moving to rural Australia in Mount Gambier and Traralgon. Since October 2018, I have worked as a Specialist Paediatrician at Cairns Doctors.
My professional interests are in chronic pain, allergy, asthma, eczema, behavioural medicine and mental health, paediatric haematology and oncology, palliative care, infectious disease and travel health and wilderness medicine.
Making an appointment
My clinic is a private specialist clinic offering appointments Monday, Wednesday, Friday 08:00 – 18:00, Tuesdays and Thursdays 08:00 – 17:00, Saturdays 12:00 – 16:00 and Sunday 10:00 – 14:00.
I do offer school based bulk-billed clinics at Cairns West State School, Balaclava State School, Woree State School, and Trinity Beach State School for students enrolled at these schools during the school terms once a month per school on Wednesdays and a bulk billed clinic for Pension Concession Card holders and Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders each Tuesday at Cairns Doctors. Reduced fees are available for Health Care Card holders.
The waiting time is currently 2 – 4 weeks though as there are only so many appointment slots for bulk billed and school clinics these are mostly booked out well in advance and the waiting time can be considerably longer.
I see children from newborn age to adolescence until their 18th birthday. However, if your teenage child would like to see me for a chronic condition after their 16th birthday I recommend considering an adult physician to ensure continuity of long-term care. Please discuss the options with your GP.
If you would like to see me, please ask your GP for a referral. While you do not need a referral as a private patient, I recommend it as it is always a good idea to have your family physician on board and you will only be eligible for the Medicare rebate with a valid referral.
Children under the care of Child Safety Queensland or other Government agency should be seen through the Public health system. Dr Arno can see patients requiring paediatric care but requires approval from the agency prior to the appointment being made.
The GP referral is valid for one year after the first appointment with me. You need to obtain a new referral after the year as otherwise Medicare will not rebate you.
Once your referral is received our friendly receptionist will call you within two working days to arrange an appointment. Please make sure that we have your correct contact phone number and that you are available or that we have the option to leave a voice message. After the appointment is booked, we will send you a letter with the appointment confirmation, general information about your visit and the ‘Registration Form Paediatrician’. Please take your time to complete the registration form as detailed as possible and bring it to the appointment. A text reminder 48 hrs before the appointment will automatically be send to your mobile.
What happens at the first visit
Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your first appointment time to allow for your child to be fully set up and registered in our system. If you have not completed the registration form, please come even earlier as it will take you around 10 minutes to fill in the details. For all subsequent visits it will be enough if you arrive for the check-in just 5 minutes prior the appointment. Registration for your child can also be completed online here
During the appointment I will listen to you and your child and we will talk about your concerns. Depending on the history I do a physical examination focusing on your child’s symptoms or just observe, chat and play with your child. I will then discuss my opinion and managing options with you and your child and together we create a therapy plan.
After the appointment, I will write a detailed clinic letter with my assessment, impression and management and a follow up plan as agreed with you to your referring GP within 4 weeks. A copy of the letter will be sent to you and, if you consent, to relevant allied health services.
If required, most procedures such as a blood test, a lung function test or an ECG are bulk billed at no additional costs to you. They can often be done on the spot either directly after the appointment or at a time convenient to you.
Info requirements / What to bring
To get the right diagnosis and best possible care for your child, it is helpful if you bring supporting documents to your visit. These may include:
- Previous reports of any relevant assessments and interventions your child had in the past from:
- Specialist doctors (e.g. former Paediatricians, Psychiatrist, others)
- Psychology, Speech and Occupational Therapy, Hospital and Community Health Services
- Hearing and Vision tests
- Cognitive / Development tests
- Letters from Day care, Kindergarten, School with observations from the teachers
- All medications and nutritional supplements your child is taking
- Your child’s ‘Personal Health Record’ book (‘The Red Book’)
If the child is under Child Safety Queensland or other Government Agency or if you are separated and there are restrictions on either parent to access the child’s information or to provide consent please provide
- Care arrangements
- Relevant sections of the court order, if there is a family court order in place.
- Child Safety Involvement
- Contact details of case workers
- Court order and care and guardianship arrangements
- Social and medical background history
- Child Safety approval and agreement to pay the Private Fee costs
I will share information with both parents, if there is no court order. If you are a foster carer, I need written evidence of legal guardianship to provide medical services to your child. For treatment decisions and medication prescriptions I need the written consent of the legal guardian.
Please consider bringing your Child Safety or Agency case worker with you.
Preparing your child
It is a good idea to talk your child before you see me and explain why you are coming to me. Reassure your child the Paediatrician’s room is a friendly and fun place to visit. If your child needs a lot of re-assurance, feel welcome to make an informal appointment where you can just come and visit me and my place, so your child becomes familiar with the environment.
While there are usually no needles involved, sometimes I will ask for a blood test, e.g. for allergy or nutritional testing. Please do not promise there won’t be any needles, if there is a chance it is recommended. However, if required you can always decide to do the blood test on another day.
Please see this link for information on how to reduce stress before and during procedures.
Fee list / Cancellation
To make an appointment with me at my private specialist clinic affordable to as many families as possible, my fees are much lower than the AMA (Australian Medical Association) recommendations for specialist consultation fees. The fees I charge are necessary to cover the expenses for running a specialist practice.
I do offer bulk billed clinics on Tuesdays for the following families:
- Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card Holders
- Department of Veteran Affairs Families
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families as part of my commitment to Closing the Gap
Spaces for the Tuesday bulk billed clinic are limited, and the waiting time can be substantially longer than seeing me on the other days.
For all Children under Child Safety Queensland or other Government Agency, you need to contact your case worker for more information regarding our schedule of fees.
Children attending Cairns West State School, Trinity Beach State School, Balaclava State School, or Woree State School and who fulfill the above criteria can be seen Wednesdays during school terms at my bulk billed school-based clinics.
For all other families the following fee list applies; Health Care Card holders will be offered a reduced fee:
|Duration||Description||Private||Health Care Card||Medicare |
|Out of Pocket|
|Out of pocket|
Health Care Card
|45 min||Initial assessment of a single concern|
(Not behavioural or developmental)
|20 min||Review of a single concern|
(Not behavioural or developmental)
|60 min||Initial Assessment of more than 1 concern and for behavioural & developmental concerns||$380.00||$300.00||$231.35||$148.65||$68.65|
|30 min||Review of more than 1 concern and for behavioural & developmental concerns||$200.00||$150.00||$115.85 / $66.25*||$84.15 / $133.75*||$34.15 / $83.75*|
|30 min||Telehealth consultation from Dr Arno’s consulting room to remote specialist e.g. in Brisbane||$200.00||$150.00||$98.40||$101.60||$51.60|
|10 min||Minor attendance||$50.00||$40||$37.70||$12.30|| |
*Medicare provides the higher rebate only twice within one year following the initial assessment. For the 3rd and all following reviews you will receive only the decreased rebate.
The fees are payable on the day of your consultation. At Cairns Doctors we accept EFTPOS, credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, Amex), and cash. The Medicare rebate can be processed at the same time if you bring an EFTPOS card with you, or if your bank details are registered with Medicare can be sent online for processing.
Remember that your GP referral is valid for one year after the first appointment with me. Please ensure to obtain a new referral after the year or Medicare will not rebate you.
Cancellation and non-attendance
Your appointment time has been reserved to see your child and family. If you cannot attend the appointment, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance so we can re-schedule and offer the time-slot to another patient. If you cancel an appointment less than 24 hours in advance or you do not attend an appointment, a cancellation/non-attendance fee of 50% of the full consultation fee will apply. For bulk billed families the fee is 50% of the Medicare rebate. The fee must be paid before a next appointment is offered. The cancellation/non-attendance fee is not rebated by Medicare.
Please ensure that you start early enough so you can drive safely and arrive in time for the appointment without needing to rush. The appointment length is calculated to have plenty of time to talk about your concerns, examining your child and discuss and prepare a management plan. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late and there is a next patient scheduled there is not enough time to cover all these needs safely and we might have to cancel the appointment and the cancellation fee applies.
To help with your first visit, you can complete the registration paperwork online by clicking here
Frequently Asked Questions
While you can make an appointment with me without a GP referral, Medicare will not pay any rebates in this case. Only with a valid GP referral you can claim the rebate from Medicare. I also recommend to always involve your GP into your child’s health care, so talking to him about your visit to me is a good thing to do.
No. I do not have walk in clinics and I do not see children for acute emergency services. Please go to your GP, the Hospital Emergency Department or call 000.
Request a referral from your GP. As soon as we receive the referral you will receive a call within 2 work days from our receptionist to make an appointment with you. Please make sure that we have the correct contact numbers and that you are available or that we have the option to leave a voice message.
The waiting time is currently 2 weeks though as there are only so many appointment slots for bulk billed and school clinics these are mostly booked out well in advance and the waiting time can be considerably longer.
It depends. Some children I see only once or twice for an assessment and management plan and then your GP will be happy continue with the care of your child. More complex cases I might follow for months or years with regular reviews. The more complex and severe your child’s concerns, the more frequent and longer I will help you. You will always be involved in the decision-making process and I will always be here for you if needed.
If you are already one of my patients you can call our receptionist and ask for an earlier appointment, though they might discuss this with me before the change is made. You have also the opportunity to email me for any short questions that you might have after I have seen you. Please note the email is not meant for discussing acute problems or for in depth consultations. For longer discussions about your child’s current condition you will be asked to make an appointment with me.
If you have a follow up appointment for a review of your child’s known condition, please let us know if you wish to discuss a new concern. This will require a new referral from your GP to ensure the Medicare rebate for a required longer appointment.
Yes, absolutely. But always with your consent only. Sharing information is essential for all involved services to provide the best care for your child. You will always get a copy of my clinic letter. If you agree to it, I can send copies of my clinic letters to all involved health and educational services. Vice versa, it is always helpful for me, to know what the other services involved in your child’s wellbeing are planning.
Since 2019 all Australians have a “My Health Record’ automatically created if you have not opted out. Please see here for more information www.myhealthrecord.gov.au
I always recommend you choose one primary health professional where all information come together and who will discuss and manage ongoing services with you. This can be your GP, your Paediatrician or any other health care provider, e.g. your NDIS coordinator.
I also recommend you keep your own personal medical records for your child at home. Request copies from all health services who were, are or will be involved in your child’s health care. This way you will always be fully informed and when transition to another health service is required, e.g. you move away or your teenager turns 18 years, you can provide all necessary information for seamless best practice care.
Below I collated websites, apps and books you may find useful. The list is in no way complete and if you have another great website to add please let me know. I do not have any affiliations or financial interest in any of the listed services, websites, apps or books.
- Bedwetting / Soiling
- Healthy Lifestyle - Nutrition - Sleep
- Learning difficulties
- Parenting Info
- Depression / Anxiety / Mental health
- Swallowing medicine
- Reducing discomfort
A great resource site to share with your child’s school teachers is
A nice little app for parents with children with ADHD is “The trouble with dragons (AUS)”
(This app is currently only available on the App Store for iOS devices.)
www.raisingchildren.net.au (click on the autism link)
To support your child with an “I can” attitude and to build up resilience look at
For children with autism and picky eating use these resources:
Two helpful books for picky eating are:
- “Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating: A Step-by-Step Guide for Overcoming Selective Eating, Food Aversion, and Feeding Disorders” Paperback – May 1, 2015
- ‘Food Refusal and Avoidant Eating in Children, including those with Autism Spectrum Conditions; A Practical Guide for Parents and Professionals’ By: Gillian Harris, and Elizabeth Shea which is available cheaply as paperback of ebook
A great explanatory video about constipation and soiling and what you can do to resolve it:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgBj7Mc_4sc The Poo in You
Screen time is a hot topic, good advice can be found here
Instead of letting your child watch hours on the screen, do this for your kids to be healthier and for having more fun and success in life:
Healthy lifestyle, fun and activity opportunities for kids and youths in Cairns and surroundings
Cairns offers a $150 ‘Get Started’ voucher for eligible children and a ‘Club locator’. Look here how to apply for your voucher and where you can use it
Great opportunities to become more active and fit
Nexus – The Street Movements organisation
Keep an eye on the Cairns Council website for kids’ activities
Two helpful books for picky eating are:
- “Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating: A Step-by-Step Guide for Overcoming Selective Eating, Food Aversion, and Feeding Disorders” By Katja Rowell
- ‘Food Refusal and Avoidant Eating in Children, including those with Autism Spectrum Conditions; A Practical Guide for Parents and Professionals’ By Gillian Harris, and Elizabeth Shea
Good chronic pain app “WebMap Mobile” from the Seattle Children’s Hospital
Good relaxation apps are “Smiling Mind”, “MyCalmBeat”, “Take a Chill” and “Yoga for Kids”
Designed to target anxiety try the ‘MindShift™” app to take control over your worries.
Two similar yet both excellent books are
- Conquering Your Child’s Chronic Pain. By Christina Blackett Schlank and Lonnie K. Zeltzer
- Managing Your Child’s Chronic Pain. By Tonya M. Palermo and Emily F. Law
Websites for Parents, Caregivers and Children and Adolescents with Chronic and Persistent Pain
General pain information
These websites have a variety of info for parents and children incl. what pain is and what they can do about it.
A printable PDF summary from the Auckland Hospital Paediatric Pain team about what pain is, with many tips and ideas what you can do about.
The New Zealand Paediatric Society website’s pain site developed by their Special Interest Group Pain in Childhood. Brief general information for families about chronic and persistent pain with book and app recommendations, videos, external links and a downloadable booklet ‘Understanding persistent pain – how to turn down the volume on persistent pain
The Australian Pain Management Network offers comprehensive information for everyone, youth and health professionals alike. You will find an abundance of materials about what pain is, and how to better manage it with information about medication, mindful strategies, nutrition, physical activities, sleep. The information for parents and youths is usually in video format while the health professionals’ information links to reading resources and external links.
Rachel Zoffness, a Child Psychologist from Northern California created this website for patients. Find many useful links to videos, articles and info sites under ‘Resources’. They cover information about different forms of pain and management strategies to use.
Find information on acute and chronic pain from symptom recognition, to assessment and diagnosis to treatment and long-term outcomes from The Hospital for Sick Children in Canada. This learning hub is made for patients and families.
Learn. Plan. Take Charge of Pain. This web resource assists children and parents to understand and manage pain and gives things to try to help feeling good again.
A Canadian website with toolkits and resources for acute procedural, acute presenting and chronic pain. The website is more suitable for health professionals than for patients, but you will find useful handout like the 40pg ‘My Pain Toolkit’ for young people and teenagers.
Basic information but covering many aspects of chronic fatigue syndrome and what one can do to improve it.
From the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center in Michigan comes this symptom management program for patients with fibromyalgia. It consists of learning and management modules.
Comprehensive information, tips, support and personal stories to help manage musculoskeletal pain. This painHealth website was created by the Department of Health, Western Australia, in collaboration with Curtin University, the University of Western Australia and the Musculoskeletal Health Network.
Mindfulness and relaxation information
These websites offer limited information about pain itself but have many useful self-helping strategies, e.g. relaxation practices and mindfulness tactics
A comprehensive self-management website developed by Psychologist Dr Rachael Oakley. The website contains an abundance of resources for children in pain and their parents. There are how-to-videos, podcasts and guided exercises to watch and listen to for coping strategies, mindfulness and relaxation exercises like breathing, active muscle relaxation and guided imagery. The Paediatric Pain Blog is full of tips for parents how to help their child in pain, e.g. with attending school and there is a good video collection with coping stories from children and parents.
Not so much about pain but the Anxiety Canada site has cool information for youths about anxiety. Learn how to face your fears, to think right, how to chill and about healthy habits and what to do for common problems with anxiety.
CALM is for Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind. There is no information about pain in general, but the website offers mindfulness and meditation exercises via audio files and a few reading materials.
It is useful to strengthen one’s resilience and the ability to cope with anxiety, stress and finding a meaning in life. Good if you like laying down and listen to guided relaxation exercises
On this Canadian website you will find ideas and resources for mindfulness exercises incl. apps, podcasts and videos
Here you find an overview of YouTube videos. Videos on YouTube might be removed or changed. If the link does not work, try typing the title in the YouTube search bar.
Migraine: How it works and how to get it under control!
Understanding pain – and what’s to be done about it in 10 minutes (New Zealand)
Elliot Krane: The mystery of chronic pain
Understanding pain – and what’s to be done about it in 10 minutes!
Understanding Pain What to do about it in less than five minutes
Yoga Progamme for Teens with Recurrent Abdominal Pain
Understanding the Complexity of Pain
Tame The Beast — It’s time to rethink persistent pain
How does your brain respond to pain? – Karen D. Davis
How Do Pain Relievers Work? – George Zaidan
What Is Pain Video
Understanding Pain: Brainman chooses
Living with Epidermolysis Bullosa – Coping with Pain during Bandage Changes (German with English subtitles)
Excellent books for parenting a child with behavioural concerns are:
- Raising Your Spirited Child. A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic. By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
- The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children. By Ross W. Greene
- Lost at School. By Ross Greene
- Good relaxation apps are “Smiling Mind”, “MyCalmBeat”, “Take a Chill” and “Yoga for Kids”
- Designed to target anxiety try the ‘MindShift™” app to take control over your worries.
Please see also see the ‘Mindfulness and relaxation Information’ under the resource link ‘Pain’
How to swallow medicine
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9n-Y_QfEjg (Tips from a Pediatrician : How to Help Children to Swallow Pills)
or learn it from these awesome kids
www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jy4advYa_8 (Clay’s Pill Swallowing Video)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRSqWqxVTKE (Cystic Fibrosis My Way: Learning How to Swallow Pills)
How to reduce discomfort during procedures
An excellent method to reduce Immunisation distress in children