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

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?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
35 Responses to Please don’t wander into the Emergency Department pleads the Chief Minister
Filter
Order
Felix the Cat 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.

dpm 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! 🙂

SnapperJack SnapperJack 2:46 pm 20 May 12

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

buzz819 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.

toriness 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.

gooterz 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!

katkat 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.

milkman milkman 5:27 pm 20 May 12

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

Brianna 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.

mezza76 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.

dvaey 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.

dvaey 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.

sunshine 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

teegs 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.

PrinceOfAles 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.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 8:23 pm 20 May 12

So this entire thing seems to be based on weekend admissions. As a father of two children under the age of 3, let’s look at these alternatives that Katy mentions.

Our GP. Well, unless we’re on the phone as soon as they open (and that often involves sitting there hitting redial because the line is busy, often a dozen or more times in a row) then we’re not getting in there. So if one of the kids gets sick at 10am, the GP won’t be any help.

Healthdirect. My wife’s used it a couple of times when our kids have been sick, and invariably, the advice has been to take them to A&E. It seems they’re so risk averse that anything that’s ‘perhaps maybe could be somewhat serious possibly’ is just hand-balled to A&E.

Walk-in-Centre – well, if you have to be over two to be seen, that wouldn’t have been any help to us at all. Just as well we didn’t drive from Belconnen to give it a go.

Community Pharmacist – so how many are available after hours?

CALMS – I’ve never used this service, but just went to the website, and tried to access the info about fees. The Word .doc asked me to enter a password to open it. Honestly…has nobody ever mentioned this to them? Has nobody ever tested what happens when someone from the internet tries to see what their fees are? Rightly or wrongly, something like that screams ‘amateur hour’ to me, and I’m unlikely to even consider them.

So Katy, where’s the website I can visit that give me all of these options, shows me which pharmacy’s are available after hours, and everything else in one easy to navigate portal? ‘Cause if my 2 year old has had a fever for two days over Easter and I can’t easily find an alternative, they’re gonna end up in A&E.

dvaey dvaey 9:18 pm 20 May 12

thatsnotme said :

So this entire thing seems to be based on weekend admissions. As a father of two children under the age of 3, let’s look at these alternatives that Katy mentions.

The reason Katy is trying to push the 30 year old flu sufferers and to the GPs and the tradie with a cut finger to the walk-in clinic, is so that the more acute care can be given to those more in need such as your children.

thatsnotme said :

‘Cause if my 2 year old has had a fever for two days over Easter and I can’t easily find an alternative, they’re gonna end up in A&E.

As they should. But what use is A & E to your 2 year old with a 2-day fever, when its clogged full of people who should be receiving treatment elsewhere?

Myles Peterson Myles Peterson 10:09 pm 20 May 12

Sucks to be living in an über-rich first-world city that can’t get the basics right.

Less subjectively popular multi-million dollar art, opera, football team and tree projects. More health, education and infrastructure.

But you can’t throw a presser to open maintenance, can you ministers?

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 7:04 am 21 May 12

mezza76 said :

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.

I think this is a great idea.

charliemack charliemack 8:42 am 21 May 12

dpm said :

It’s a tricky situation but the sad thing is GP availability in Cbr is quite poor.

Just been in to Waramanga Medical Centre – Needed an appointment today for the usual “dreaded man flu!” and they have appointments coming out their ears apparently!

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

 Top
Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site