The way that people visit the doctor is changing. This is a good thing as the pace of life and demands on the Australian healthcare system make it increasingly difficult for patients to get the level of care that they need.
After hours GP services are incredibly convenient and offer a great solution in many situations. If you’re wondering what they are exactly and how and why you should use them then read on below to find out more.
What is it?
After hour GP’s provide the same services and care as your usual doctor outside of normal office hours. If you need to see a doctor outside of normal working hours or on a weekend then these services offer a great alternative to emergency rooms or urgent care clinics.
There are a number of options for doctor care outside of office hours in Australia, including in-person clinics and house call doctors. 24/7 online services are also now becoming an option in Australia.
There are a myriad of reasons that patients may require care outside of normal working hours, many people now live busy lives, cannot afford to sacrifice the time off work or fall ill outside of office hours.
What care do they provide?
After hours GP’s usually offer exactly the same services you could expect with your usual doctor. Common care that they can provide includes consults for illness, injury, infection, chronic disease, prescriptions, referrals to specialists, general check-ups and physicals, travel advice, treatment for depression and anxiety, referrals for tests and management of a number of other disorders.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to using an after hours GP service, one of the key reasons that people seek out the service is for its convenience.
Modern life is busy, and it can be exceedingly difficult for patients to make weekday office hours appointments, trying to fit a visit to the doctor around other work commitments and personal commitments such as children can mean that many people are simply faced with ignoring their own health concerns.
The option to visit a doctor at any time alleviates this problem. It can be an excellent service for those who cannot drive or are unable to leave the house because of illness or injury.
After hours GP’s take the pressure off emergency care departments and save patients from spending hours in waiting rooms in the middle of the night.
The services provide high quality care at the times when patients need it and avoid the risk that patients will miss out on care because it is unavailable to them outside of working hours.
There is usually Medicare availability with these services so patients are not out of pocket in comparison to their usual clinic visit.
When shouldn’t you use it?
You shouldn’t use after hours GP services in emergency situations, if you have symptoms such as; shortness of breath, choking, uncontrolled bleeding, sudden paralysis, fainting, poisoning, severe burns, broken bones, vomiting blood, severe vomiting and diarrhea, major abdominal or chest pain or suicidal thoughts then you should go straight to the emergency room.
In emergency situations don’t delay, if you wouldn’t visit your usual general practitioner for symptoms, then outside of work hours services are probably not the appropriate care choice.
Do they have health fund coverage?
Most after hours GP’s will accept some, if not all, private health insurances. You are covered by Medicare, but your private health insurance coverage might also offer additional support. It is up to the individual doctor and insurer, so check with them before your appointment.