Patient information

Visiting a medical specialist for the first time can be daunting, and many patients aren’t sure what to expect. We’ve answered the most common questions below, and Jonny will be happy to answer any additional questions during your consultation.

The referral process

How do I book an appointment?

To book a consultation, you’ll need to be referred to us by another medical professional (often your GP, sports doctor, physiotherapist or podiatrist). Your referrer will pass on all the details about your current concern or injury, relevant medical history, and any treatments or investigations provided to date. Jonny will review your referral, and then we’ll be in touch via email or post with an appointment time.

In some cases, after reviewing the information in your referral, we may request up to date imaging before your first appointment. If needed, the radiology service will contact you to arrange a time.

How long will it take to be seen?

Due to the volume of referrals we receive, there is unfortunately often a wait to be seen. All referrals are triaged and prioritised based on the urgency and severity of your condition.

Your first appointment: what to expect and what to bring

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

  • Patient registration form.
    You will receive a patient registration form with your appointment letter; please complete this and bring it to your appointment. 
  • List of questions.
    We encourage you to write down your questions ahead of time and bring a list to your appointment. It’s important to us that you have the opportunity to learn about your procedure, and with so much new information on the day, we find that sometimes questions can be forgotten.
  • ACC details.
    If you are an ACC patient, please make sure you bring your ACC details and information about any previous ACC claims that might be relevant to your concern. Find your information on the ACC website.

Can I bring a support person?

Absolutely - we encourage it! There’s a lot of information to take in at your first appointment, and it can be helpful to have a second person to make sure you feel comfortable and to ask any additional questions.

What are your payment options?

  • Southern Cross
    We are a Southern Cross Health Society affiliated provider, and consultation costs will be claimed directly from Southern Cross on your behalf. Please note that there may be a shortfall that you are responsible for depending on your policy.
  • ACC
    If your consultation is related to an ACC injury related problem, the total cost of your appointment will be covered by ACC.
  • All other patients (health insurance and self-funded)
    You won’t need to pay on the day - we will send an invoice following your appointment. Please note we only accept payments by bank transfer, and don’t have Eftpos or credit card facilities. Fees range from $250 to $310, depending on duration and complexity.

What are my treatment options?

Your treatment options will depend on your condition or injury, and Jonny will talk you through the different management strategies during your consultation. These may include non-surgical options (like referring you to a physiotherapist or podiatrist). We understand that choosing your treatment option can be a big decision, especially if you’re considering surgery. You’re welcome to decide on the day, or you can take some time to think it over.

Where is my appointment held?

Your first appointment will be held at Forte Health, at 132 Peterborough St, Christchurch. Come into the main building and follow the signs to Orthopaedics. There is plenty of free onsite parking.

Can you provide an interpreter?

Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange an interpreter on your behalf. We recommend you arrange an interpreter who speaks fluent English, or your support person can interpret for you.

What can I expect during the appointment?

In your first appointment, Jonny will go over your condition or injury history, conduct a physical examination, and review your imaging. If any further scans or investigations are needed to make a diagnosis, these will be arranged after the consultation.

Once a diagnosis is made, Jonny will talk you through the surgical and non-surgical treatment options, along with any potential risks.

It’s important that you have a clear understanding of your condition and your treatment options, so please feel comfortable asking as many questions as you like. You’ll also receive a copy of your clinic letter after your appointment, so you can review the information at home.

Pre-Surgery Information

Once you have made the decision to proceed with surgery, the next step depends on whether the surgery is to be funded by ACC, health insurance, or self funding.

ACC Surgery

It’s important to know that although ACC may have confirmed they will cover your initial injury and your specialist review, you will not automatically get your request for surgery approved. Jonny will complete an application (called an Assessment Report and Treatment Plan, or ARTP) to request funding approval. For a simple ARTP request we may receive approval in as little as 2-3 weeks, but please note that this process often takes eight weeks or longer. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to speed up the process, but you can contact ACC directly for updates about your application.

If ACC approves your surgery request, we will contact you to schedule an appropriate surgery date. ACC approval lasts for 12 months following their decision.

If ACC declines your surgery, we will send you a letter outlining your options.

Self Funding

We will provide you with an estimate of your surgical costs, and once agreed, you can book your surgery date.

Health Insurance

If you have private health insurance, and your condition is not covered by ACC, you can use your health insurance to fund the surgery. In this case, we will provide an estimate of your surgical expenses, which you can then forward to your insurance company to arrange approval. In some cases, the insurance provider will also request copies of clinical documentation and referrals, which we can provide as required. The pre-approval letter usually takes between two and five days to be issued - please let us know your approval number once you receive it.

If you’re a Southern Cross customer, we can apply for hip and knee joint replacement surgeries on your behalf. For all other procedures, you will need to contact Southern Cross directly to obtain approval.

Public Hospital Referrals

Like all medical practitioners, we are able to make referrals to the public hospital system if further management is required. However, a specialist referral does not receive preference for access to the public system, nor does it guarantee any particular management strategy.

Once your payment method has been confirmed, we can schedule your surgery date. Here’s what to expect beforehand and on the day.

Scheduling your surgery

We can generally offer a surgery date within 4-6 weeks. If your treatment is related to an ACC injury, we’ll need to wait for ACC to approve your funding before we can schedule a date

Your Pre-Operative Information Pack

Approximately two to three weeks before your operation date, we will send out a surgery pack in the post or email. The pack will include:

  • The location of surgery.
  • The time you need to arrive.
  • When to stop eating and drinking before surgery.
  • Any medication you may need to stop prior to surgery.
  • Any specific instructions for the day of surgery.
  • Any equipment you may need to collect.

This pack will also contain a health questionnaire, together with other forms which you will need to complete and send to the hospital.

What to expect on the day

After you arrive at the hospital, Jonny and your anaesthetist will see you before the surgery. In most cases, you will be able to bring a support person with you. Please check with the hospital beforehand while we are in a Covid-19 environment.

After your surgery, Jonny will pop in and see you if possible - please note that sometimes his full schedule means he will have to rush off to see another patient! The hospitals where Jonny performs surgery are staffed by experienced medical professionals who will ensure you’re comfortable and well looked after during your recovery period.

Your surgery location

Jonny is accredited to perform surgeries at Forte Health, St George’s Hospital, and Southern Cross Christchurch. You can request a specific hospital, however, please note that not all procedures can be performed at all hospitals. Our team will be able to recommend the most suitable hospital.

ACC Medical Certificates

If you need an ACC medical certificate, this will be issued to you on the day of your surgery. Jonny will discuss the length of the medical certificate with you, as well as any restrictions. If you require an extension to your medical certificate, please remember to request this at your post-op appointments.

After you’re discharged from the hospital

Please follow the instructions provided to you at time of discharge.

Most procedures have two follow-up appointments, where Jonny can check that your recovery is progressing well and arrange an extension to your ACC Medical Certificate if required (please remember to request this during your appointment). The timing of your follow-up appointments will depend on your procedure, and your recovery.

Links for Referrers

Referrals may be made by the following means, preferably electronically




Forte Orthopaedics, Forte Health Building, 132 Peterborough Street


Experienced in multiple medical practices


Forte Orthopaedics, Gnd floor Forte Health

132 Peterborough St, Christchurch

Practice Manager: Emily McCullough