Blue Mountains News

Local After Hours Doctor Services Ease Burden on Emergency Departments

Source: Wentworth Healthcare
Archived 14 Feb 2019 - Posted: 16 Dec 2018
Up to two - thirds of emergency room patients presenting at night and on weekends could have been treated at an after hours GP service, according to local data.

In an effort to reduce the burden on emergency departments, a new campaign is being launched to help people find what local after hours medical services are available.

Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, is behind the ‘Doctor Closed?’ campaign which promotes the new DoctorClosed? website.

According to Wentworth Healthcare CEO, Lizz Reay, “most people would prefer to see a GP rather than go to an emergency department but many people don’t know what other options are available.”

“If you or your child needs medical assistance at night or on weekends, the hospital is not always your only option. In some cases, a long wait in the emergency department may not be necessary. The Doctor Closed website provides local residents with alternative options – there is a helpline and the ability to find doctors that open outside of usual business hours,” said Ms Reay.

The DoctorClosed? website provides the following helpful information:

  1. Identify what’s wrong
    Use an online symptom checker that asks a few simple questions to help identify the best course of action
  2. Talk to a professional
    Get advice from a health professional 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on the healthdirect helpline 
  3. Find an open doctor
    Find a doctor near you who is open or search for doctors in your area that make home visits
  4. Need medicine?
    Find the nearest pharmacy in your area that is open

‘Doctor Closed?’ campaign collateral will roll out in hospital emergency departments, GP waiting rooms, local schools and community centres. It will be supported by a digital and social media campaign, including a video , targeting local residents, particularly parents of young children and non - English speaking communities.

“Over the upcoming Christmas holidays it’s important that local residents know what options are available when people are sick or injured, and where they can go when their usual doctor is closed,” Ms Reay said .

 
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