Queensland to get after hours GP helpline
Queenslanders will soon be able to get medical advice from a GP after hours as the state’s 13HEALTH nurse advice service teams up with the Australian Government’s after hours GP helpline
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The Hon Nicola Roxon MP
Federal Minister for Health and Ageing
The Hon Geoff Wilson MP4 December 2011
Queensland Minister for Health
Queenslanders will soon be able to get medical advice from a GP after hours as the state’s 13HEALTH nurse advice service teams up with Gillard Government’s after hours GP helpline
Australian Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon and Queensland Minister for Health Geoff Wilson today announced the two Governments have reached agreement for Queenslanders to gain access to the after hours GP helpline from early March 2012.
“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?’,” Minister Roxon said.
“This will change next year, when Queenslanders will get access to the Gillard Government’s after hours GP helpline.
“Already the after hours GP helpline has been a solid success, handling more than 60,000 calls since its launch in July this year.
“Importantly when tourists from other parts of Australia fly into Queensland, they will be able to call the after hours GP helpline just like they do at home and get in touch with a GP,” Minister Roxon said.
Queensland Minister for Health Geoff Wilson said the State Government was working to change the face of public health across the State through innovation.
“We are absolutely focussed on new ways of doing things that mean delivering more services sooner and closer to home for Queenslanders,” Minister Wilson said.
“13HEALTH is a great example of this, and is a service that has been very popular here in Queensland.
“This announcement builds on the success of 13HEALTH and means anyone in Queensland will be able to call and also speak to a GP after hours if needed, something that will be of great comfort particularly for parents,” he said.
At the same time, Minister Roxon announced that five Queensland Medicare Locals are now finalising localised plans to improve access to after hours care in their regions.
The Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local will fund the continuation of after hours services currently offered at the After Hours Clinic co-located with the Caboolture Private Hospital; and the Murri Teilah Medical Centre to extend its current opening hours, ensuring culturally appropriate after hours care for Indigenous Australians.
The Greater Metro South Brisbane Medicare Local will be establishing a Homeless to Home Healthcare After Hours Service for homeless people. This will be a nurse-led outreach service, which will respond to referrals for after hours care from allied health practitioners and agencies.
The Gold Coast Medicare Local will be providing grants to general practices and pharmacies in areas that lack services, to support extended opening hours. It will also support the two Medical Deputising Services in the region to stock some essential medications for patients to access after hours.
The Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local will support a local add-on to 13HEALTH and the after hours GP helpline. This additional service will enable residents who need to see a GP face-to-face in the after hours period, to be transferred to an Emergency Despatch Officer who will arrange the local face to face service for them.
The West-Moreton Oxley Medicare Local is to expand and enhance after hours services at the Fernvale Clinic.
“The advice from Medicare Locals is that excellent progress is being made on these initiatives, which will start to be implemented from January 2012,” Minister Roxon said.
For all media inquiries, please contact the Minister's Office on 02 6277 7220
From early March next year, Queenslanders will be able to access the after hours GP helpline by calling 13HEALTH or by calling the national after hours GP helpline number on 1800 022 222.
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