Located in Toowoomba, Queensland Specialist Physicians and Endoscopy Service was established in 2016 as a private multidisciplinary practice that aims to provide the very highest standard of clinical assessment, investigation and management. We bring experience and knowledge, tempered by common sense and practicality.
Our Physicians are highly trained specialists who provide a range of non-surgical health care to adult patients. They care for difficult, serious or unusual medical problems and continue to see the patient until these problems have resolved or stabilised. We aim to provide as much care in house as the patient requires – consultation in the rooms, inpatient admission, clinical testing with upper and lower endoscopy (gastroscopy/colonoscopy), 24 hour holter monitoring or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring right through to end-of-life care.
Being an outpatient simply means you are coming in to see us in the rooms for an appointment. Meeting your Consultant is your first step back to good health and a better quality of life. It’s quite natural to have questions. You may be worried about something in particular or feel nervous because you’re not sure about what is going to happen. That’s why we are here. We listen to you and guide you through every part of your investigations, tests and treatment.
Critically ill patients are defined as those patients who are at high risk for actual or potentially life-threatening health problems. The more critically ill a patient is, the more likely they are to be highly vulnerable, unstable and complex, thereby requiring intense and vigilant high quality, safe, effective care and management. Our Consultants have admitting rights to St Andrew’s Toowoomba Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and the Toowoomba Hospice with referral from GPs (doctors), or Emergency Departments and is part of the after hours on-call Physicians Medical rota for week-night (Thursday) and week-end admissions.
Newly discharged patients need special attention. A follow-up visit with your physician for certain conditions can greatly reduce the chance of a relapse and addresses the conditions that precipitated your hospitalisation and to prepare you for self-care activities.
GPs often need a quick piece of expert advice. Your GP is able to discuss by phone with the Consultant the most appropriate management of your symptoms given your medical history.
Disease prevention focuses on prevention strategies to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other morbidities. It empowers individuals to engage in healthy behaviours and make changes that reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Diabetes is a serious complex condition which can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing it.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor and specialist to control it.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. General Physicians can extend the level of care a local doctor can provide, because they can evaluate and treat many of the routine problems that arise in people who have heart failure. When more complex decision-making is required or when the severity or complexity of the problems surpasses the usual it is important to consult a specialist.
People with hepatitis B virus infection but no symptoms were once thought to be 'healthy carriers'. However, all people with chronic hepatitis B should receive regular, lifelong monitoring of disease progression by a general practitioner or specialist. Routine monitoring (at least annually) even when there are no symptoms, can prevent severe liver disease including liver cancer.
Hepatitis C has become a very curable disease with the recent advances in drug treatment that is now available under the PBS. It is important to have a comprehensive assessment of your liver health as part of the work-up for treatment of Hepatitis C and we can provide this in our practice.
Palliative care is an approach to the care of patients with incurable conditions that improves the quality of life of patients and their families. Through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical and psychosocial, it incorporates a positive and open attitude toward death and dying working with patients and their families, and respects the wishes of patients in relation to their treatment near the end of life. This approach, by shifting from a ‘cure’ to a ‘care’ focus, is especially important in the last 6 to 12 months of life.
Our practice participates in telehealth video consultations for follow-up consultations. People in telehealth eligible areas of Australia have access to video consultation. A telehealth video consultation is when a patient and Specialist Consultant undertakes a consultation via video conferencing equipment. This provides many patients with easier access to their specialist, without the time and expense involved in travelling to major cities.
During a colonoscopy a thin flexible tube called a colonoscope is carefully fed into the large intestine. A small camera on the colonoscope transmits an image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the bowel and intestinal lining. Our specialist uses Endocuff vision which is a single use device that securely fits around the colonoscope tip improving visualisation throughout the procedure significantly increasing the detection of lesions. A colonoscopy can detect inflamed tissue, ulcers and abnormal growths. The procedure is used to look for early signs of colorectal cancer and can help diagnose unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, bleeding from the anus and weight loss. It is also used for the screening and surveillance for colorectal cancer or removal of bowel polyps. Colonoscopy with removal of polyps is the best way to prevent bowel cancer.
Upper endoscopy is a procedure in which the specialist uses an endoscope (a long, flexible tube with a camera) to see the lining of your upper gastrointestinal tract which includes the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). Upper endoscopy helps your GP evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It’s the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Ambulatory BP monitoring involves measuring blood pressure at regular intervals over a 24 hour period while patients undergo normal daily activities, including sleep. The portable monitor is worn on a belt around the waist and is connected to a standard cuff on the upper arm. An oscillometric technique is used to detect systolic, diastolic, mean blood pressure and heart rate for the monitoring period. The device is removed the next morning and the recording downloaded to a computer to allow for analysis by the Physician. A report is forwarded to your GP or referring provider.
Preparation: It is recommended that you shower prior to your appointment as you will be unable to during the testing period. It is encouraged that you go about your normal daily activities, so that the blood pressure readings will be a true representation of your typical daily routine.
A Holter Monitor records the electrical activity of the heart continuously over a 24 hour period. This test enables us to identify any electrical changes or rhythm abnormalities of your heart during your normal daily routine. Reasons for holter monitoring may include investigating the cause of symptoms (palpitations, syncope etc.), to detect abnormal heart rhythms, or to evaluate the effectiveness of medications on the heart. The device is removed the next morning and the recording is downloaded to a computer to allow for analysis by the Physician. A report is then forwarded to your GP or referring provider.
Preparation: It is recommended that you shower prior to your appointment as you will be unable to during the testing period, and to wear a two piece outfit to allow easy access to the chest. It is encouraged that you go about your normal daily activities, so that the ECG readings will be a true representation of your typical daily routine.
Dr Luke Gaffney is a Consultant Physician and Gastrointestinal Endoscopist completing his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at Melbourne University and training at tertiary Hospitals in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland and also through the Royal Flying Doctors Service in the Northern Territory.
Following the completion of his training, he commenced employment at the Toowoomba Hospital as a Staff Specialist in General Medicine and Palliative Care and then served as the Director of Medicine until the end of 2015.
Dr Gaffney has published research in Australian and overseas medical journals and presented papers at several Scientific Conferences. With a keen interest in medical education, Dr Gaffney has performed as Associate Senior Lecturer with University of Queensland School of Medicine and as the Medical Education Registrar at Fremantle Hospital. He also completed his Clinical Diploma in Palliative Medicine from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Dr Luke Gaffney is GESA (Gastroenterological Society of Australia) credentialed to perform Upper GI Endoscopy and Colonoscopy. Endoscopy services are performed at St Andrew’s Day Hospital, 280 North Street and Toowoomba Surgicentre, 18 Scott Street, Toowoomba.
Dr Gaffney is passionate about all areas of General Adult Medicine. He currently serves as a Management Committee member of the Toowoomba Hospice and is the former Chair of the Toowoomba Physicians Group which runs continuing professional development for Physicians in Toowoomba across the public and private sectors.
With the retirement of Dr Peter Hawkins, Dr Gaffney continues to provide services for outpatient 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and 24 hour holter monitors. Devices are fitted Monday and Wednesday and removed Tuesday and Thursday. These services are provided as bulk bill services.
Dr Joel Collins is a consultant Clinical Haematologist (Physician). He holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Griffith University in Queensland. He is a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, having completed his advanced training between the two major Queensland tertiary hospitals - the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Whilst completing his training, Dr Collins held the position of Chief Medical Registrar at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.
Dr Collins currently holds an appointment as a Staff Specialist at the Toowoomba Base Hospital. He moved to Toowoomba on a permanent basis to raise his young family, having spent his own formative years in rural and remote Queensland, including Mt Isa, the Burdekin and Townsville. He initially started his medical training as a Rural Generalist, working at Ipswich Hospital for two years, before moving towards training as a physician.
Dr Collins has published research in both local and international medical journals, and has been a speaker at a number of national conferences. He has ongoing active research interest in malignant haematology in particular, multiple myeloma.
He is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, and the Rural Clinical School. His other professional memberships include Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ), Australasian Lymphoma and Leukaemia Group (ALLG), American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the European Haematology Association (EHA).
Dr Collins is available for inpatient and outpatient consultations for all aspects of haematology including malignant haematology (leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and myeloproliferative disorders) as well as non-malignant haematology (haemophilia, von Willebrand disease, other bleeding disorders, thrombosis and anticoagulation).
To find out more, go to www.toowoombahaematology.com
Dr Usman Mahmood is a Consultant Nephrologist and graduated in 2006. He underwent post-graduate training in various public hospitals across Victoria, Northern Territory and Queensland including Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital and Renal Transplant unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane. He has a range of experience in different areas of Nephrology and General Medicine including both Metropolitan and Indigenous healthcare. His special interests include chronic kidney disease, hypertension management, renal vasculitides, lupus nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, glomerulonephritis, haemodialysis, kidney transplantation and general medical conditions.
He has authored two books on different Nephrology topics including peritoneal dialysis solutions and cardiac biomarkers in dialysis patients. Dr Mahmood loves to teach junior medical staff including medical students and holds title of Associate Lecturer with the University of Queensland.
Dr Mahmood can speak four languages and is well equipped to look after patients from sub-continent background.
In order to make your first visit with us as pleasant as possible, there are a few things that we would like you to know.
Be ready to provide information about diseases that run in your family and describe current and past health problems and treatments. Write it all down if that helps and bring past medical records.
Make a list of the medications you are taking (or bring in the bottles) including the doses and frequency of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbs, supplements and vitamins.
Find a friend or relative to accompany you to your visit. A lot of information may be presented at a doctor’s visit, it may helpful to bring a friend or relative to help you write things down, share medical information, and talk with consultant.
Please allow up to 60 minutes for your appointment. The practice usually runs on time. Please arrive 5 minutes prior to your scheduled time to complete administrative matters.
If you need to postpone or cancel your appointment we appreciate as much notice as possible, ideally at least 48 hours. If you are running unavoidably late on the day, please phone us to determine if we need to reschedule your appointment.
You will need to bring your referral. Please also bring your current medicare/DVA card, private health insurance card and any concession card.
Specialist consulting fees are in line with market rates and are well below the AMA recommended fees. For consultations, Medicare will cover a large portion of the specialist consultation fee when there is a valid referral from a general practitioner or specialist. We participate in Medicare online billing. If your bank account details are registered with Medicare we are able to submit the claim electronically for you and the Medicare benefit will be refunded to your bank account within 48 hours. Department of Veterans Affairs patients are bulk billed. Pensioners are charged at a reduced rate. Payment is required on the day of consultation.
Privately insured patients/Department of Veterans Affairs Patients
Our endoscopists do not charge gap payments for privately insured or DVA patients. We participate in direct billing arrangements with all health funds. This means that patients will not receive accounts from us for hospital based services such as gastroscopy, colonoscopy, endoscopic procedures and in-hospital consultations. There may be some out of pocket costs for associated pathology and anaesthetic services. In addition, private health funds may require patients to pay an excess to the hospital depending on their level of cover. Private health funds can provide more information on excess fees for hospital admissions.
Uninsured patients undergoing procedures will be bulk-billed (ie. no out-of-pocket costs for endoscopy). However, patients will be required to pay a hospital facility fee, anaesthetic fee and any pathology charges. Please be aware, the out-of-pocket expense for the hospital facility fee cannot be claimed from Medicare.
Please contact Qld Specialist Physicians for further information regarding fees.
Open access endoscopy is defined as the direct referral of a patient for gastroscopy or colonoscopy without a formal consultation in advance.
Despite offering patients rapid access, open access endoscopy is not suitable for all patients, particularly those with co-morbidities which might impact on pre-procedure advice, peri-procedure medication management, or even the most appropriate setting (day hospital or larger hospital with inpatient care) for the procedure.
Patients who are unsuitable for open access endoscopy should be initially referred to Qld Specialist Physicians for a formal consultation to discuss all aspects of the proposed endoscopic procedure. For open access bookings or consultation please phone us on (07) 4646 3237 or fax the referral to (07) 4646 3239.
Qld Specialist Physicians have both electronic and A5 paper referral pads for referral purposes to our Open Access endoscopy service.
The electronic template is available for Medical Director (MD), Best Practice (BP) and Genie programs. Please see below, Qld Specialist Physicians referral templates and the instructions required to import the forms into your clinical program. Please remember to SAVE the template to a folder or to your desktop prior to opening the template. PLEASE DO NOT OPEN THE FILE IN MS WORD.
If you require A5 referral pads, please contact our rooms for delivery of pads to your practice or download the Qld Specialist Physicians referral template in WORD.