Quick facts about dermatologists in Australia:
- Dermatologists can assist in the treatment of more than 3,000 skin disorders.
- There are more than 786 dermatologists registered with The Australasian College of Dermatologists.
- It’s estimated more than $1 billion is spent on treating melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia every year.
What does a dermatologist actually do?
In Australia, a dermatologist is a medical professional specialising in the assessment and treatment of conditions and diseases affecting the hair, skin and nails. This also includes health-related matters of the wet part of the mouth and genitalia.
To practice dermatology in Australia, a dermatologist must be a registered practitioner with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and with the Medical Board of Australia.
Australia and New Zealand have the highest melanoma rates in the world (2017), so detecting and treating skin cancers is a large part of a dermatologists role. However, there are thousands of different conditions a dermatologist can assist with.
Why would you see a dermatologist?
It’s a common misconception you only need to visit a dermatologist for skin cancers or severe acne. In truth, dermatologists can help with more than 3,000 skin disorders, as well as those affecting hair and nails.
Some of the reasons you may visit a dermatologist:
- Fungal nail infections.
- Ingrown nails.
- Alopecia or other hair-loss related conditions.
- Dermatitis or eczema.
- Sun-damaged skin.
- Mole observation or removal.
How much does it cost to visit a dermatologist?
Like any business, the price of a dermatological visit will vary on the practice and the reason for your visit. The average cost of a consultation with a dermatologist ranges from around $150 to $250 with follow-up consultations being less.
Additional costs may be required for minor or day surgeries, as well as any treatments involved. Some dermatology offices may have cancellation or late fees, but they should advise this at time of booking.
Medicare rebates may be available, depending on the reason for the visit, however, you may need a referral to claim this.
Is a dermatologist covered by health insurance?
In most cases, the cost of seeing a dermatologist will not be covered by health insurance. The best thing to do is confirm with your health insurance provider what specialists are covered in your policy, and any specific treatments you may require.
Do I see a dermatologist for acne?
A mild or moderate case of acne may only require a visit to a general practitioner (GP). You should also see a GP for acne if it has occurred after beginning new medication or if over-the-counter treatments aren’t resulting in any improvement.
Where a dermatologist can help with acne is if it a severe case or it is causing scarring. GPs may refer you to a dermatologist if they feel further treatment is required to assist with resolving acne or scarring, as a result.
Is it hard to become a dermatologist?
As dermatology is a specialised field of health, it’s a long road to become a dermatologist. Before you can even begin to study dermatology, you need to complete training to become a Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Australia. This alone can take a minimum of four to six years, depending on the university.
Once you are an MD, you then need at least two years of post-degree experience. Then, you can continue onto your minimum four years of training with The Australasian College of Dermatologists to complete your training.
Even then, you can undergo further studies to attain your masters or another area of interest in the field.
Do you need a referral to see a dermatologist?
If you need a referral will depend on the dermatology office. Even if you don’t need a referral to make a booking, you’ll most likely need one to claim any Medicare rebates.
When in doubt, check it out—with a GP.
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