After-hours care

Sometimes health care can’t wait. Find out how we support after-hours care through GPs and helplines.

Why after-hours care is important

After-hours care is accessible primary health care outside of normal general practice opening hours and outside of hospital emergency departments.

After-hours care is important to ensure Australians have access to appropriate care when treatment can’t wait. This is particularly in cases where treatment may not require a visit to a hospital emergency department.  

After-hours care should not be a substitute for primary care that could otherwise occur 'in hours'.

What we’re doing about after-hours care

GP care

We support after-hours primary care through a GP incentive program. This program supports general practices to provide their patients with appropriate access to after-hours care.

Some practices provide the after-hours care themselves, while others arrange for another medical service to offer it.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) also fund or provide after-hours care services. Learn more in the after-hours evaluation report.

Healthdirect also offers an after-hours primary care linkages service. This links people who call the healthdirect helpline to after-hours GP services where needed.


We fund helplines for advice and support during and after hours. These include:

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