EXPLAINED: How to access new emergency department
A SECOND Emergency Department will open in Bundaberg on Tuesday, for the first time offering patients a choice when they need emergency care.
Open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, The Friendlies Emergency Department will be open to all patients, as no private health insurance will be necessary.
Emergency Department Nurse Unit Manager Emma Shears said because The Friendlies had created the new department from the ground up, it was able to create a department that was focused around patient experience and professional outcomes.
"The Friendlies announced in May it was shutting its After Hours Medical service after 14 years, to make way for the Emergency Department," Mrs Shears said.
"Since then we have refitted the unit to be a purpose-built, level 4 emergency department.
"We have also spent this time purchasing the most state-of-the-art equipment and recruiting our emergency staff.
"We are fortunate to have been able to spend time training as a team so when we open our doors we will be ready to offer the highest-level of patient care."
Mrs Shears said The Friendlies Emergency Department was committed to being patient focussed, with no condition or complaint too small.
"Our doctors will be here for any patients that need us, no matter what the complaint, big or small," Mrs Shears said.
"We are also encouraging patients to express their choice of emergency department to paramedics as we will be able to accept patients via ambulance, in addition to walk-ins."
Friendly Society Private Hospital CEO Alan Cooper said opening the emergency department was an exciting step for The Friendlies.
"As Bundaberg grows in size and need, there has been increasing demands for after hours medical services," Mr Cooper said.
"After 14 years of operating the After Hours here at The Friendlies, an emergency department was the next progression to answer growing expectations of the community, and we are pleased to be able to meet that."
Frequently asked questions
What to expect from a private emergency department
There will be minimal wait times to see an experienced emergency-trained doctor.
You will receive a follow-up phone call the next day and you can return to the emergency department any time in the following week for the same condition and there will be no additional out-of-pocket cost.
If you have private health insurance you can be admitted directly to the Friendly Society Private Hospital and will have access to leading specialists.
Will there be fees?
Yes, all private emergency departments have fees for service. Most people, regardless of whether they have private health insurance can expect to pay a minimum out-of-pocket cost of $120.
This fee is capped at a maximum of $250. This is one of the lowest fees in Australia for a private emergency department.
DVA and approved WorkCover patients will not have an out-of-pocket cost to pay.
Patients with no Medicare card such as overseas visitors and those on visas will be subject to higher fees.
Can I claim the out of pocket from Medicare or my private health insurer?
No, you are not able to claim it back from Medicare.
Most health funds don't cover private emergency treatment, but a small number do.
Do I have to pay a full fee and claim the money back from Medicare?
No, you will only be required to pay the out-of-pocket fee.
If I need investigations as part of my visit, such as pathology or medical imaging, do I have to pay?
Radiology and pathology providers may issue invoices to patients separately; however you may be eligible to claim some of these fees back from Medicare.
If I need an ambulance, can they bring me directly to The Friendlies.
In most instances, the ambulance will be able to bring you directly to The Friendlies, depending on your case. Let paramedics know your choice of hospital.
What if I need admission to hospital
If you need admission following your visit to The Friendlies Emergency Department you will have three options available.
If you have private health insurance, you can be admitted directly to The Friendlies.
If you don't have insurance you can choose to be admitted to The Friendlies as a self-funded patient, or you can be transferred to the Bundaberg Hospital.