Making an appointment
My clinic is a private specialist clinic offering appointments Monday to Friday 08:00 – 18:00, Saturday 12:00 – 16:00 (twice monthly) and Sunday 10:00 – 14:00 (once monthly).
I do offer a bulk billed clinic for Pensioner Concession Card holders and Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders each Tuesday at Cairns Doctors on Barr St. Reduced fees are available for Health Care Card holders.
If your child is a student at Cairns West State School, Balaclava State School, Woree State School, or Trinity Beach State School it might be eligible for my school clinics there. Please discuss the referral with the school’s guidance officer or head of special education. The school clinics are during the school terms once a month per school on Wednesdays.
Children under the care of a Government agency e.g. Child Safety or other 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. Please note that bulk billed clinics are only available for children attending with their legal guardian and not for children under the care of a Government agency.
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.
A regular GP referral is usually 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 for your appointment. If you are unsure when your referral is due to expire, please contact us to clarify.
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.
To help with your first visit, you can complete the registration paperwork online by clicking here
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. 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 clicking 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, usually within 2-3 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 else to bring
To get the right diagnosis and give the best possible care for your child, it is very helpful if you bring copies of supporting documents to your visit. Even better send them to us a few days before the appointment as the clinics are set up and prepared one day prior the appointment.
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 / Behavioural assessment reports
- Letters from Day care, Kindergarten, School with observations from the teachers
Please also bring
- All medications and nutritional supplements your child is taking or pictures of the packaging
- 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 see Dr Arno
Please note that bulk billed clinics are only available for children attending with their legal guardian.
Please consider bringing your Child Safety or Agency case worker with you.
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.
If parents are separated, I will send a copy of my clinic letter to the attending parent / carer. I will share information with both parents if requested and if there is no court order. If there is disagreement between parents and both have legal guardianship, I will only provide advice but not prescribe non-essential medications.
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 Paediatricians room is a friendly and fun place to visit. If your child needs a lot of reassurance, 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. www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Reducing_your_childs_discomfort_during_procedures
A great way to reduce needle pain is a numbing cream you can buy over the counter at your pharmacy. The cream will take an hour to work. Comfort positioning like sitting on the parent’s lap and distraction like soap bubbles or videos on the smartphone, can work wonders to make the poke much more pleasant.