The Gold Coast has become the home of the National Home Doctor Service’s national contact centre – creating 140 jobs locally, and making the city a key player in the after-hours healthcare of all Australians.
The centre relocated to Helensvale from South Australia, and was officially launched today by Queensland Minister for Health Cameron Dick who encouraged locals to use the service when sick rather than attending a hospital emergency department.
“If we can use after-hours doctors services effectively, it takes pressure off our public hospitals and pressure off our ambulance services,” he said.
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The push for the public to use after-hours doctors comes after a recent report from Deloitte Economics showed that, without encouraging more people to use home-visit GP services, the cost to the public healthcare system of treating Australians would blow out by $724 million over the next four years. This is based on a cost to taxpayers of $368 for a patient to attend an Emergency Department and an additional $1350 if the patient is transported by ambulance – compared to just $128 if seen by a home-visit GP.
“We’re having significant growth in the number of people who continue to come to public hospital emergency departments,” said Minister Dick.
“The message for the community is emergency departments are for emergencies. So if you have a lower level illness then you should call the after hours home doctor service.”
The Executive Chairman of the National Home Doctor Service, Paul Mirabelle, says that over the last 10-15 years people have “defaulted” to the public hospital Emergency Department when their regular doctor was closed after hours. He described the push for more people to use the after-hours service as a “win, win, win” situation.
“Clearly it’s a more efficient way to deploy scarce healthcare dollars. It’s better for the patient in the sense that they’re not overburdening the Emergency Department which should be kept for emergencies. And it’s actually better for the patients in the sense that if you can be treated in your home without having to be brought into the hospital environment, it’s a clinically better outcome,” he said.
To request an after hours, bulk billed, doctor home call 13 SICK (13 7425) or visit homedoctor.com.aufor more information.