Doctors on call with new service

IT might take a week to get an appointment with a doctor on the Northern Rivers, but a new after-hours phone service being launched by the Federal Government means you will at least be able to talk to one.

Federal Health and Ageing Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday announced Medibank Health Solutions had been chosen to provide the After Hours GP Helpline, which is due to kick off in NSW on July 1.

The service will provide about 100 general practitioners and more than 240 nurses to offer over-the-phone advice to people between 6pm and and 8am weekdays, and from noon Saturday through to 8am Monday.

The service might not be much immediate if you’re trying to get a doctor’s certificate after taking a sick day from work, but it was aimed at coordinating face-to-face care as well as answering questions.

“Having a sick child is a worry for any parent. But, when that small cry for help comes at 3am, it can be even more concerning as many parents are left asking, ‘Who can I call for help?’,” Ms Roxon said.

“This will change from 1 July, when the Gillard Government’s new after hours GP helpline kicks off.

“People will be able to pick up the phone and talk to a nurse or GP to get advice and, if needed, referred to their nearest open after-hours service.”

The after hours GP helpline will be added to existing telephone-based nurse triage, information and advice services currently available across the country.



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