Almost half of the patients to pass through Gladstone Hospital’s Emergency Department in the last two years could have been treated by a GP, according to Queensland Health’s classification system for emergency visits.

These span five categories, where Category 4 or 5 cases are considered to be less urgent, treatable by a General Practitioner.

Out of the 29,293 visits to Gladstone Hospital’s Emergency Department last year, more than 43 per cent of cases fell into these two categories. It was a similar figure in 2016, where the average cost of a patient presenting at the Emergency Department came in at $578.

House Call Doctor’s Chief Operating Officer Craig Glover said it was vital Emergency Departments were left free for more serious cases.

“If your injury or illness is severe or life-threatening, we advise you to go to the Emergency Department,” Mr Glover said.

“If it’s not, we strongly encourage you to visit your GP during the day, book an after-hours doctor, or call 13 HEALTH which is available 24 hours a day.” Cases at Gladstone Hospital’s Emergency Department in 2017 which could have been treated by a GP included:

  • Ankle sprain/strain: 377
  • Cut to finger: 252
  • Surgical dressings: 239
  • Plaster cast aftercare: 159
  • Viral infection: 224
  • Wrist sprain/strain: 196
  • Knee sprain/strain: 191
  • Cut to face: 173
  • Foot sprain/strain: 157
  • Toothache: 154
  • Radius lower end: 138
  • Bruised upper limb: 138
  • Minor head injury: 138
  • Respiratory infection: 138