GPs work around clock
FOR the first time over the Easter break, Wide Bay residents had access to local doctors who were working around the clock to provide in-home, after-hours care.
House Call Doctor is a new bulk-billed medical service to treat patients in their own homes across Bundaberg, Maryborough and Hervey Bay.
Chief executive officer Wayne Ormond said House Call Doctor was well established in the area with 30 local doctors registered for the after-hours service.
"When it comes to this type of care, regional areas often get left behind," he said.
"We have teams of local GPs and Emergency Department doctors ready to make that old-fashioned house call to help people when they need it most - when their doctor is closed.
"The Easter break was very successful in the Wide Bay region and we had a number of patients using the service."
The service comes as a welcome relief for patients after the Friendlies Society Private Hospital announced changes to their after-hours opening times last week.
The hospital has ceased operation of its Monday to Thursday opening times due to West Bundaberg Medical Centre withdrawing from the service.
House Call Doctor operates weekdays from 6pm to 8am Monday to Friday; midday Saturday through to 8am Monday morning and 24 hours on public holidays.
Mr Ormond said the new service will help to take the pressure off hospital emergency wards and unnecessary waiting times.
"House Call Doctor means no more long waits in a hospital emergency room; this service means doctors come to you while you wait in the comfort of your own home and it saves time and money because House Call Doctor visits are 100% bulk-billed," he said.
"There are no surcharges or penalties for calling a doctor late at night. Our service doesn't leave you a cent out of pocket."
All doctors are registered with the Australian Medical Board, and medical reports are forwarded to the patient's regular GP.