About Appointment

Frequently Asked Questions

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T: (07) 55 646 877
F: (07) 55 646 441

Suite 2.06, Level 2,
29 Carrara Street
Benowa QLD 4217

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Making an appointment couldn’t be easier – just ring 07 55 646 877 and we will be happy to give you advice.

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Q1: Where are you located and how to get there? Is there any car park?

We are located at Suite 2.06, Level 2, Pindara Specialist Suites, 29 Carrara Street Benowa. Pindara Specialist Suites are located within the premises of Pindara Private Hospital, Benowa. The entrance to the suite is via Carrara Street behind Benowa Gardens shopping centre into Pindara multistorey free car park. Take the lift to Level 2 (green décor when you exit lift) and turn right into the Specialist Suites. There is also a drop off facility (5 minutes car park) in front of Hudson café at the ground level.

Q2: What are your business hours?

Ans. Our practice hours are from 9 am to 5 pm Mon-Fri

– Dr Nihal consult on Monday am , Tuesday ,   Wednesday am &  Friday am

– Dr Nihal operate at Pindara on alternate day in the afternoon  that is Monday pm , Wednesday pm & Friday pm

– Thursday is Dr Nihal day off – The Day of Rest!

Q3: What do I bring to my first appointment?

It would be useful and helpful if you could bring the following on your first appointment

  • Referral letter from your GP or specialist or Emergency doctor is MUST
  • All old X-rays/MRI/CT/Ultrasound films & scans with their reports (Not just the reports)
  • Please make sure you have printed hard copies of your X ray/MRI/CT (not only the CD copies). If you only have CD’s then please ask the imaging company to print hard copies for you to bring to this clinic. If we are unable to see the images then you may be asked to have a repeat X-ray at Pindara Hospital before the consultation, which will cost you time and money.
  • All your Medicare/Health fund/ DVA Cards
  • Any correspondence/letters from previous doctors/specialists
  • List of your medical conditions/medications and details of any previous surgery
  • List of questions which you wish to ask during consultation
  • This practice is a private practice and is not a Bulk Billing or No Gap practice. Therefore consultation fee must be paid on the day of consultation. Please bring your EFTPOS/Visa/Master cards or cash. We do not accept American Express or cheques.

For WORK COVER /Third party patients: Please make sure you have the valid active claim number of your work-related injury as well as the name, address, contact number of your employer and case manager. It is your responsibility to get approval for consultation. We may be able to assist you regarding this. If you do not have the approval then you are liable to pay the consultation fee on the day of consultation and then claim back from work cover at a later date. PS. Please remember to download from our website and complete the “New Patient Registration Form” and bring to our practice on the day of your consultation.

Q4: Do you see Workers Compensation and third party insurance claim patients?

Ans: Yes, however we require written approval from either work cover or third party insurance claim before you can be seen. It is your responsibility to obtain an approval. We would be happy to provide assistance regarding this.

Q5: What is the procedure when I arrive?

You will be asked to complete the new patients registration form and/or work cover injury forms. If you have not already downloaded and completed the new patient registration form. If your condition needs application of plaster, splint, moon boot or injection etc then there will be an extra cost for these services which will be fully discussed beforehand and paid on the same day. If you have private insurance with extras cover then some health funds partly rebate the cost of splint/boot. Please check with your health funds and we will provide you with a receipt and supporting letter.

Q6: What types of conditions are treated at you practice?

  • Bunion, hammer toe & foot deformity correction
  • Arthritis of ankle & foot joints
  • Ankle pain, sprain & instability
  • Achilles tendon & heel pain
  • Diabetes related foot disorders
  • Sports & Dance related foot & ankle injuries
  • In-growing toenail surgery
  • Flat foot, foot drop and cavus foot reconstructive surgery
  • Morton’s neuroma, Metatarsalgia
  • General common orthopaedic trauma & fracture management
  • Revision and Re do foot & ankle Surgery
  • Paediatric & adult acute trauma/soft tissue / fracture management

Q7: My condition is not urgent but I want to be seen soon – do you have any cancellation list so that I could be contacted at short notice to attend an appointment?

Yes- Please ask our staff to put your name on our cancellation list and my secretary will contact you to come early should an appointment become available due to a last minute cancellation.

Q8 : What is the training structure of a Consultant / Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon/Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle surgeon?

  • 5-6 years in Medical school to obtain MB BS, MBChB, or MD, comprising the basic medical degree
  • 2-3 years or even longer basic internship, junior doctors training under supervision in various medical and surgical specialities within hospitals
  • 5- 6 years of advanced training in orthopaedic surgery under supervision and attainment of a higher surgical degree for example FRCS, FRACS etc
  • 1-2 years of sub-speciality training ( fellowship) under the supervision of an eminent orthopaedic surgeon either in the home country or overseas.
  • After 15-16 years of medical and surgical training, only then can a surgeon work independently as a “Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon”, “Orthopaedic Specialist” , “ Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon”.

Q9: Is Dr Nihal only an Orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon?

Dr Nihal is a fully trained Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon and takes all other general orthopaedic trauma and fractures in including children’s’ fractures.

Q10: I have seen a podiatric surgeon who has suggested that I need my foot/ankle operation but Medicare won’t reimburse the rebate. However I do get a Medicare rebate when I see my GP or other medical specialist?

At present Medicare does not recognise Podiatric Surgeons as “ medical specialists” thus their fees do not attract any rebate. The majority of health funds also do not recognise Podiatric Surgeons as “Medical Specialists” thus your health fund may or may not pay the hospital and theatre costs if you chose to have surgery by non MBBS / non FRCS/non FRACS podiatric surgeon.

Please ask your treating podiatric surgeon and the hospital administration where you are having foot surgery as regards the costs and rebates. You must also ask the treating podiatric surgeon whether s/he has prescription rights to prescribe antibiotics should you develop minor post-op infections or whether s/he has any admitting rights in a major private hospital should you develop a serious post op-infection requiring I/V antibiotics and/or wound wash out and debridement under GA etc.

Q11: Can I send all my questions via e-mail for you to answer, as I do not have time to come to Dr Nihal’s room for consultation?

Ans: E-mail correspondence is not a secure and confidential way of communication discussions and passing on confidential clinical information. Thus this practice does not partake of e-mail consultations.

Practice e-mail communication is only reserved for making, changing or cancelling appointments, making requests to issue sickness certificates, contacting us for non-urgent post-op queries and any other non-urgent matters, particularly if you are abroad.
If you have a lot of clinical questions relating to your surgery then please make an appointment to discuss this in person.

Q12. Do you see patients soon in your clinic who have urgent foot/ankle fracture or Achilles tendon rupture?

Ans. Yes. Please let my staff know that you have sustained acute fracture or tendon rupture we have urgent slots on Monday and Tuesday and would be more than happy to slot you in.

Q13. Do you see or operate on uninsured / self funded patients privately at Pindara Hospital?

Ans. Dr Nihal only work in private hospitals and has no practice privileges in public hospital, thus private health insurance is essential for any surgery if carried out at private hospital. However we do see un-insured patients who seek 2nd opinion or their GP have specially requested for an expert opinion from Dr Nihal.

(a)  Dr Nihal provides a holistic treatment & service from start to finish. Even if you pay Dr Nihal’s  surgical fees, the hospital & anaesthetic fees, unexpected complications such as infection do occur, particularly in the case of foot & ankle surgery, which is known to carry higher risks of post-op complications than for example knee & hip surgery. Should this happen, you will need readmission and further treatment in private hospital the cost of which may run in thousand of dollars on daily basis, thus If you are self-funded, then these unexpected costs may become unaffordable.

(b) You may have question that you had “knee arthroscopy surgery: by Surgeon  X and when you had post op infection the surgeon X  treated you in public hospital with no added  cost. This may be true when that Surgeon work both in private and public hospital and/or  treated you as public or an intermediate patient in public hospital. Dr Nihal only works in private hospital thus unable to admit you  for any unexpected or expected complication in public hospital under his are and treat you personally.

Dr Nihal would hesitate or prefer not to operate on un insured /self funded patients in private hospital and thus take money from these patients and then dump these patients in public system for any expected or expected complications. In most cases these uninsured patients wont be able to afford $900 a day hospital admission and any cost related to theatre revision surgery.

Thus apart from so many benefits of having private insurance is that all the hospital, theatre and instruments cost is paid by the private health funds, which usually run in to thousands and thousand of dollars.

(c ) Self-funded patients need to be aware of  the other costs in addition to the Dr Nihal’s fees, for example  surgeon’s assistant fee , anaesthetist fee , hospital ward, theatre costs , medication , fees for x ray taken during and after surgery.  The other hidden and unpredictable cost include for plates, screws or synthetic bone graft or other material used during surgery, the cost of which may run in thousands and thousands of dollars.

(d) The foot & ankle is a complex structure and surgery, by definition, is also complex with involved & sometimes prolonged periods of post-op care. It often requires a longer stay in hospital, needs periods of rehabilitation & physiotherapy for sometimes several weeks in a private rehab unit. Again this will incur extra expenses for self-funded patients

(e) In addition to expected complications relating to foot & ankle surgery, there may be unexpected cardiac, anaesthetic or other complications requiring a period of in-patient stay either in the ward or even  ICU  or CCU this would add bill  of thousands and thousands of dollar but if you are insured then all this extra bill is paid by the health funds.  (Case scenario of a patient undergoing routine knee arthroscopy, developed a heart attack requiring admission to ICU, subsequent intervention and treatment. He received a hospital bill of $30,000 for a presumed routine procedure when he paid surgeon only approx.. $1200 to have knee arthroscopy).

(f) Thus if you are uninsured patient then please discuss with your GP for a referral to  any other orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon who has practice privileges both private public hospital, so that when they perform surgery privately and if post-op complications occur, they can transfer you to a public hospital for on-going care at no extra cost to you.

(g) Should you wish to see Dr Nihal and have surgery by him , then it is up to join health funds and serve the  waiting period and then return to our clinic .