Thursday, August 9, 2012

GP Access a model to consider

Loose Change noted the story in the Post this week on a proposal for an after hours street doctor GP service in Cairns with intent to reduce pressure on the hospital emergency department. Myriad issues can be contemplated with such services out of a mobile van in the street. It's also difficult to conceive both cost efficient and quality service delivery from the models discussed.

As far as aware the leading such after hours service is GP Access in Newcastle which has been operating for some time. KS had cause to use the service on his recent southern family sojourn after impaling a fish hook in his foot. No, he wasn't fishing but had located a hook previously lost in the grass by another party. The local GP surgery had closed for the day. Med student nephew did comtemplate a surgical removal in his kitchen with the assistance of wire cutters but was reluctant absent a local anaesthetic so referred to GP Access.

The service can be accessed via a 1300 number which provides out of hours medical advice throughout the night. A call to your local GP after hours will also include the number on their standard recorded message. Callers can be screened and allocated to a GP operating until late from public hospitals and a couple of community health centres in the region. Local GP's staff the service on a roster basis.

KS ended up at John Hunter hospital where the service operates from rooms close by emergency, used for other consultations during the day, and patients can be referred between the two if necessary, and fully resourced. KS emerged following friendly and efficient service without the fish hook and newly tetanus reboosted.

A model I would suggest worthy of consideration for the purpose ahead of mobile and van services?


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