‘Best’ specialist website attracts criticism


11 Sep 2015

A new website that claims it puts GPs and patients in touch with the country’s “best” specialists has been slammed by a leading doctor.

The website specialistdoctors.com.au is co-founded by former AMA president Associate Professor Kerryn Phelps and colorectal specialists Graham Newstead from Prince of Wales Hospital and David Lubowski from St George Hospital.

The site claims to have over 750 specialists listed across 21 specialist areas including respiratory physicians.

According to background information on the site the question on the minds of patients and GPs is which specialists have the highly developed expertise that may be required for many conditions.

“There is no shortage of websites which simply list medical specialists; the vast majority of these are essentially variations of “Yellow Pages” listings; that is to say, each specialist will have paid to have an entry listed.”

The website is unique because “every entry denotes a specialist who is recognised by his/her peers as being at the very peak of their specialty and/or subspecialty and who is caring, has both an approachable and caring manner and is known for his/her good judgement,” the site states.

The highest levels of technical skills, where applicable, are also considered most important, it says. 

Specialists cannot pay to be recommended on the site, nor can they ever pay a fee to be included.

“They are selected using a unique process developed by Senior Specialists. They are chosen because they are among a selected group of the best Specialist in Australia,” the site says.

However in an interview with GP magazine Australian Doctor WA president Dr Michael Gannon said  there were already adequate systems in place to guide GPs to the right specialists.

“Historically doctors haven’t advertised. Part of being an ethical practitioner is not to promote yourself above other doctors,” he said.

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