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.
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.
This Christmas season, to support people to access the right medical care and help reduce the burden on our emergency departments, we have launched a new campaign called Doctor Closed? to help our residents find what local after hours medical services are available in our region.
The Doctor Closed? campaign promotes the new www.DoctorClosed.com.au website that we have developed in consultation with key stakeholders. The website provides local residents with alternative options to presenting to a hospital emergency room. There is an online symptom checker to help people identify the best course of action; links to the 24 hour, 7 days a week healthdirect helpline to get advice from a health professional; and the ability to search for doctors and pharmacies that are open outside of usual business hours.
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 and New Year 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. In some cases, with the help of this new resource, a long wait in an emergency department may not be necessary.
For further information visit www.DoctorClosed.com.au.