Orthotics Department

How can we help you?

We specialise in the assessment, design, manufacture and fit of orthoses for adults and children with physical disability or impairment. We often help people who have a spinal cord, rheumatology, lymphedema, cerebral palsy, brain injury, scoliosis, plagiocephaly, excessive pain, foot disorders, orthopaedic or neuromuscular related needs.

Orthoses are assistive devices that are applied externally to the body.  Orthoses are commonly used to support, correct or protect parts of the body such as the head, neck, arms, legs and spine. Orthoses may help some people in performing activities of daily living.

We mostly provide orthotic care and rehabilitation to children and adults who are inpatients and outpatients of the Sydney Children’s Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital at the Randwick Campus.

We also provide services to people referred directly to us (private referrals) although you would likely be charged in this case.

Our team includes:

Orthotists are allied health professionals who assess and treat the physical and functional limitations of people resulting from illnesses and disabilities. Orthotists are trained to prescribe, design, fit and monitor orthoses.

Technicians and Technical Assistants manufacture the orthoses from casts, measurements, materials and components at the orthotics service.  They may also provide technical advice and assistance during your visit.

Administration staff will help you make appointments, inform you about what will happen at the Orthotics Department and answer any questions you may have.

We work in partnership with your medical specialist, physiotherapist and other medical professionals at the Sydney Children’s Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital and Community Health Services.

If you are new to our service, you will need a referral to attend our Orthotics Department. A referral from a medical specialist is preferred. Your local general practitioner (GP) can refer you to a suitable specialist if you don’t have one already.  Alternatively your local doctor may refer to us directly although there is likely to be a cost to you.

Please ask your Doctor to fax the referral to our department on 9382 8178. We will then contact you to make an appointment.

If you need an adjustment or replacement of a device we have already provided then you don’t need a new referral.  If your medical condition has changed and you need a different device then a new referral is required.

Call the Orthotics Department on 9382 8184 to make, cancel or change an appointment.

How often do I need to attend the Orthotics Department?

You will need to attend for an initial assessment and any subsequent visits associated with the provision of the orthoses.  This may include a cast, scan or measurement followed by fitting and adjustment.  Your Orthotist may ask you to return for review, adjustment and maintenance of the orthoses.  You should make an appointment if you are having any problems or concerns with your orthoses.

You will not be charged for your orthoses if you are eligible for Medicare and have a current referral (no older than 12 months) from one of the following:

  • Prince of Wales Hospital Inpatient or Outpatient services.
  • POWH Community Health Team.
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital.

You may be charged for your orthoses if one of the following applies:

  • You are Medicare ineligible (eg non-resident of Australia who is not covered by a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement).
  • You are referred directly to Orthotics by a General Practitioner, a Medical Specialist from private rooms or from other hospitals.
  • You are covered by Motor Vehicle Accident, Work Cover or other third party insurance. In this case you could claim the cost back from these organisations.

Some private health funds may offer a partial refund for orthoses.

If I am charged for my orthoses, how much would it cost?

It depends on the type and complexity of the orthoses.  Also we have a fee structure depending on your circumstance. Speak with your orthotist or contact the Orthotics Department for more information.

People sometimes associate the word orthotics with feet.  We make many kinds of orthoses to fit the head, neck, arms, legs and spine. It depends on your needs.

Waiting times to see an orthotist can vary from a few days to several weeks depending on the clinical urgency and availability of bookings. 

Generally speaking simple adjustments and the provision of off the shelf orthoses can be done on the day of the appointment.

Complex adjustments or follow up fittings require a return visit.

Time associated with the manufacture of orthoses, the ordering in of prefabricated orthoses or parts can vary. Ask your orthotist for an estimated week of completion.

Please bring:

  • Current Medicare card or Veteran Affairs card
  • Any Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card.
  • Insurer details (eg workers compensation, public liability or third party).
  • If you are not eligible for Medicare you may need to pay for the some of the services you use.
  • Your Private Health Fund Membership card if you are currently insured with a private health fund.
  • Recent x-rays or medical images and their reports, if applicable.
  • Current orthoses or supports you may have.
  • Suitable clothing as the orthotists may need to examine your body movement or measure part of your body.  If you are being seen for:
    • Foot/ankle: bring your everyday footwear, sports or walking shoes.
    • Legs: bring shorts or clothing that can be brought above the knees.
    • Back, spine or arms: singlet / under garments.

Call us if you have any questions or concerns about what to bring.

Please let us know if you need an interpreter. You can contact us by telephoning the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450. Tell the operator what language you speak, and then ask the interpreter to set up a telephone conversation between you, an interpreter, and the Orthotics Department on (02) 9382 8184.

We are a teaching hospital and you may be asked to be involved in research or for a student to be present at your appointment. You have a right to say no. If you do so, this will not impact in any way on the services we will provide.