Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I book an appointment with a pain specialist?

You need to fill out our Patient Registration Form and FPM Baseline Pain Questionnaire.

Return them to our office with a copy of your referral letter.

When we received ALL these documents, we will offer you an appointment.


2.Why do I need to fill in the pain questionnaires for the initial consult?

The doctors need this information to see how your pain affects your life so that they can work out what you need and help you manage your pain.

These are not trick questions to see if the pain is "in your head". They allow you to tell us how pain affects your life.

3. Why do I have to fill out questionnaires at each visit?
This gives the doctor more information to better help you manage your pain.


4. How long will I have to wait to get an appointment?

We can usually offer you an appointment within 2 weeks of receiving your paperwork if your doctor advises us that it is urgent. Appointments for non-urgent referrals may take 4 - 8 weeks. We offer a 'cancellation waiting list' to allow earlier review if you can come at any time.

If you return all the pain questionnaires and referral today, we'll process it today. If you return them to us in two weeks time, we'll start processing them in two weeks time.


5. Why do I need a referral letter from a doctor to see a medical specialist?

You need a referral letter because Medicare says so. In Australia, you need a referral from another doctor to see a medical specialist. It is better for you to get a referral letter from your GP because these are valid for 12 months or longer. Referral letters from another medical specialist are valid but only last 3 months. Although, other health professionals such as physiotherapists can give you a referral, these are not accepted by Medicare.


6. I have a referral from my specialist, why do I need a referral from a GP?

Specialist referrals are only valid for 3 months from the date of the first consultation. GP referrals are valid for 12 months.  Sometimes GPs give an indefinite referral.  It may be may be helpful for you that you do not have to continuously go to the specialist to keep your referral up to date.


7. What is the difference between a GP referral letter and a Specialist referral letter?

A GP referral is valid for 12 months and a specialist referral is valid for 3 months.


8. How much do I get back from Medicare, WorkCover or TAC?
Please refer to our fees schedules on


9. I was referred to Dr Taverner, why am I seeing another pain specialist?
We can give you the option of seeing another pain specialist earlier and get help earlier or if you prefer to wait, you can still see Dr Taverner. The other pain specialist may be able to start your treatment plan.


10. Why does it cost so much to see a pain medicine specialist?
A pain management specialist/consultant is a highly trained medical doctor who provides comprehensive expert assessment and holistic treatment of patients with uncontrolled acute or chronic pain. Pain medicine specialists need 15-20 years of training to gain the breadth and depth of experience to learn what is best for the patient. They constantly meet with other experts in Australia and overseas to keep uptodate, so that they have the latest information with which to help you.


11. Why is there a gap payment?

The Government’s indexation of Medicare rebates has never kept pace with inflation or the rising cost of medical practice. On average AWE and CPI increase by 3% per year. Practice costs rise by the same amount. Medicare rebates have only been increased 1.7% on average each year and they have not been increased at all since 2014! This is shown in the following graph produced by the Australian Medical Association.


12. What is Chronic Pain?
Pain that persists for longer than three months.
Pain that has been caused a significant change in a person’s lifestyle or personality.
Pain that persists despite appropriate medical and/or surgical therapy.

13. What is pain management?
Frequently, well-qualified physicians and family practice doctors simply do not have the expertise to appropriately treat acute or chronic pain. Too often this leads to over-medicating or improperly medicating the patient.
A pain medicine specialist/consultant is a highly trained medical doctor who uses an integrated approach to diagnose and treat painful conditions that aims to optimise the use of self-management, medication, psychological & physical strategies and appropriate interventions. Effective pain control makes rehabilitation possible. We help patients regain a sense of purpose and self-worth.



14. How long is the first consultation?
Please expect to be at the clinic for 2 hours. Allow enough time to see the doctor. We do make every effort to be on time and minimise your waiting time. Please be patient if you are kept waiting. It is because the doctor is attending to another patient. You can be assured that when it is your turn, you will receive the same care and attention.

15. How can I help myself?
Please visit the helping yourself section of our webpage.