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Please don’t wander into the Emergency Department pleads the Chief Minister

By johnboy - 20 May 2012 35

Chief Minister Gallagher is asking Canberrans to stop making her emergency department numbers even worse by coming in for non-emergencies.

Instead she suggests these alternatives:

— Community Pharmacist – your local pharmacist is qualified to give you expert advice on many health issues;

— healthdirect – call 24 hours a day seven days a week on 1800 022 222 for free expert advice and reassurance;

— Walk-in-Centre – for one-off treatment of minor illness and injuries for those over the age of two, see a specialist nurse seven days a week from 7am until 11pm, at Canberra Hospital;

— GP surgery – for ongoing comprehensive health care for everyone, including those with acute problems, children under two years and those who have complex medical problems, your GP is your best option; and

— CALMS – 1300 422 567, the call centre is open weeknights from 6pm and all day weekends and public holidays, with CALMS clinics open from 8pm.

What’s Your opinion?


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35 Responses to
Please don’t wander into the Emergency Department pleads the Chief Minister
PrinceOfAles 7:52 pm 20 May 12

SnapperJack said :

Katy has forgotten something. GPs charge money, Emergency is free.

I can assure you emergency is not free. No upfront costs is not the same as free.

teegs 7:36 pm 20 May 12

Ha. This week I had a simple problem I have had before, for which I needed a script. I tried all those options apart from the healthline, as I was already familiar with the problem. Could not get a GP appointment anywhere, walk in clinic had a huge queue and would have closed before I could be seen, pharmacy obviously couldn’t give me prescription medication. I didn’t go to the emergency department, but basically, that was my only option. Canberra needs more GPs before people will stop going to emergency for minor problems. Simple as that.

sunshine 7:25 pm 20 May 12

You are forgetting that not everyone has a spare $35 lying around when a trip to the dr is needed. My dr charges $70

dvaey 6:52 pm 20 May 12

Also, maybe the question should be asked, that if medicare determines that a consultation with a GP is worth $x, and the GPs are charging $x+35, why is there a difference?

Is medicare undervaluing every GP visit or are doctors simply not happy with the recommended charging suggestion by medicare, and adding their surcharge on top? Maybe the medicare payments need to be reviewed, or there need to be incentives for doctors who bulk bill. For example, if a practice agrees to bulk-bill all medicare patients, they could receive an additional payment per patient, to encourage practices to reintroduce bulk-billing. Alternatively, set up a government health service with doctors who will work for that money, which will bring competition back into the GP market.

dvaey 6:42 pm 20 May 12

SnapperJack said :

Katy has forgotten something. GPs charge money, Emergency is free.

The walk-in clinic is free too. For non-emergency situations, theyre generally also quicker. They provide great care, can provide a certificate for sick leave and best of all you wont clog up the emergency dept for the real emergencies.

mezza76 6:08 pm 20 May 12

dpm said :

NOTE: I can’t say i’ve ever been to ED for a non-emergency and have found CALMS basically excellent for all other out of hours stuff. We need more of it – and maybe 24/7! That is, if they had a huge GP clinic next door to ED, where you paid but it was way faster, the majority of people would use it surely? Well, until it made the ED waiting times lower due to it then getting less use! 🙂

I’d also like to see more 24/7 GP-like services…they are lacking in the ACT. But co-location with EDs are generally considered a bad thing – they usually just add to more demand for the local hospital…as cheapskates prefer to wait 5 hours to get their diagnostics and medical treatment for free. The whole thing could be fixed if Emergency Departments charged non-urgent non-lifethreatening patients at the same cost as a GP. Then it would be the case of, same cost and a 5 hour wait… the CAT 5 demand would largely disappear.

Brianna 5:59 pm 20 May 12

Healthdirect? I have called them many times over the past few years to find out whether I should go to A & E (or take my child) and each time they listen to what I have said and told me to go to A & E to be on the safe side.
During GP visits, I have mentioned healthdirect and three different GPs have commented on what a waste of time and money it is. For my personal experience, I have to agree.

milkman 5:27 pm 20 May 12

Put a few mor GPs on in the larger clinics (e.g. Philip).

katkat 5:20 pm 20 May 12

Every time I’ve called Health Direct they’ve told me to go to the ER, and most of my friends (who have called) have had the same experience. That line seems to be driving up numbers at the ER rather than reducing them.

gooterz 5:12 pm 20 May 12

It wont matter when we get the NBN we’ll all have access to doctors 24/7 over the internet – Problem solved!

toriness 4:59 pm 20 May 12

buzz819 said :

SnapperJack said :

Katy has forgotten something. GPs charge money, Emergency is free.

I don’t know, I’d rather pay $35 then have to wait in emergency for 5 hours.

I’d rather pay $35 than selfishly clog up and place stress on emergency services with my inappropriate non-emergency health issues.

buzz819 4:39 pm 20 May 12

SnapperJack said :

Katy has forgotten something. GPs charge money, Emergency is free.

I don’t know, I’d rather pay $35 then have to wait in emergency for 5 hours.

SnapperJack 2:46 pm 20 May 12

Katy has forgotten something. GPs charge money, Emergency is free.

dpm 1:47 pm 20 May 12

It’s a tricky situation but the sad thing is GP availability in Cbr is quite poor.
If we were in a situation where we could see a GP (and pay) at any time of the day or night *quicker* than waiting (even hours and hours) at ED, then people’s first thought – especially after hours and on weekends – wouldn’t be ED. Sadly, that’s the way it is. You can wait days/weeks to see a GP in this town….
Even the weekend clinics at places like Phillip will have you waiting all day (which is likely to be same/similar to ED).
NOTE: I can’t say i’ve ever been to ED for a non-emergency and have found CALMS basically excellent for all other out of hours stuff. We need more of it – and maybe 24/7! That is, if they had a huge GP clinic next door to ED, where you paid but it was way faster, the majority of people would use it surely? Well, until it made the ED waiting times lower due to it then getting less use! 🙂

Felix the Cat 1:43 pm 20 May 12

After a recent high speed off on my pushbike I tried to go to the walk-in centre at Gunghlin but was turned away because they didn’t have staff and was told to go to casualty. To their credit (Calvary Casualty), I was attended to within 15 mins of arriving even though there was a waiting room full of people there already.

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