It seems like a bygone era, but it wasn’t so long ago that doctors would visit the sick at home and house calls were considered the norm.
The GP home visit is making a comeback though, as the Government Health Department urges people to keep the emergency department (ED) for emergencies. It is estimated that nearly 40 per cent of all ED presentations are deemed inappropriate or non-urgent, potentially GP-type visits that could have been managed in the community.
GPs that offer home visits after hours are on the rise in Queensland and the service is free under Medicare as it is a bulk billed service.
Mum-of-two and Dial A Home Doctor National Marketing Manager Donna Kirk said often people were just looking for reassurance that nothing more serious was wrong.
“Most people aren’t doctors, we don’t know what’s wrong with us,” she said. “We think we have the flu, but sometimes we’re just not sure.
“We’re looking for reassurance. And when the GP is closed, we think the only other place to get that reassurance is the ED. But there is another option – you can dial a home doctor on 139999 and have a doctor come to you.”
One group of people who can really benefit from after-hours GP home visits are the elderly in our community.
According to the Australian Centre for Health Research (ACHR), an increasing number of older patients (over 70 years) were attending the ED, many over four times per year.
Some elderly people tend to be more cautious and reluctant to put people out, preferring to be stoic, get through the night and wait until ‘normal hours’ to visit the doctor.
The problem is, as they become frailer, waiting 24 hours can actually cause more harm than you think. Having the flu will cause a more significant impact in an elderly person if they don’t see the doctor straight away.
Ms Kirk said apart from many people not realising the after-hours GP service existed, there was a common perception that calling a doctor to visit you at home was bound to be an expensive exercise.
“People think it’s going to be expensive,” she said. “But we are a bulk-billed service through Medicare. We are completely free.”
“Don’t be scared to ring! This is what we are here for.”
Dial A Home Doctor offers remarkable medical care when you need it most. If someone at home is sick after hours or on the weekend, just dial a home doctor on 139999.
Dial A Home Doctor is a free bulk billed after-hours Doctor service – We Come To You.
*Home Doctor Guaranteed within 90mins. If you book online Mon-Fri by 4:30pm, Sat & Sun by 10:30am. We reserve the right to take more time in case of giving priority to more serious conditioned patients as we always attempt to prioritise young children and the elderly.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition