Choosing a Specialist

Your GP or cardiologist will be able to recommend and refer you to a cardiothoracic surgeon who can assess you and decide whether this surgery is right for you.

You may be happy to accept the advice of your doctor, or you may like to investigate your choices.

In Australia, each medical speciality has a governing body to which the consultants belong. These are often good organisations to turn to for information about what you can expect from your medical specialist, and how to locate one in your area. You can locate a cardiothoracic surgeon through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons or the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons.

Questions for your specialist may help you understand the treatment, and, if necessary, decide on a surgeon. Practical issues you may also like to consider are which hospital(s) a particular surgeon operates from, and their fees.

To find out which cardiothoracic surgeons participate in our Medicover No Gap or Known Gap * arrangement:

A good source of information on heart surgery is The Heart Foundation.

Can you use your referral on any specialist?

Your referral can be transferred to any specialist you choose, as long as they’re in the same medical field. Alternatively you can ask your GP to write an ‘open referral’ where they don’t specify a particular specialist. A valid referral needs to include:

  • relevant clinical information about your condition for investigation, opinion, treatment and/or management
  • date of the referral
  • signature of your referring doctor.

*Participation in HCF’s medical gap initiative is at the doctor’s discretion. We can’t guarantee these doctors will participate in our gap arrangements for all members or services. Where you will incur any out-of-pocket costs the doctor(s) should advise you of these costs and obtain your Informed Financial Consent so you can make an informed decision before going ahead with the procedure. Members are encouraged to confirm with their doctor(s) whether they will use HCF’s medical gap initiatives for their treatment.

questions for your specialist

What you should ask before going ahead with heart valve replacement.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.