One in three people are waiting in hospital emergency rooms with medical problems that can be treated by a House Call Doctor in their own home.
Shocking new Queensland Government figures show 1285 people a day are clogging busy emergency departments with problems including sore throats and nappy rash.
Health Department statistics show there were 469,200 “GP-type” presentations across Queensland’s emergency departments up to September last year. Health bosses report patients are turning up to hospital emergency with problems such as toothache, ingrown toenails, finger sprains and headaches.
Health Minister Cameron Dick said the sign on the hospital door says “emergency” for a reason.“Clinicians are clearly concerned the efficiency of emergency departments is being impacted by people not in need of emergency care,” Mr Dick said.“I want to ensure there are better local options for people so they don’t have to use emergency department resources,” he said.That’s exactly what House Call Doctor is doing, said Wayne Ormond of House Call Doctor.
“We have brought back the traditional house call so people can wait in the comfort of their own home while we send a doctor to their door. It’s taking pressure off the emergency departments,” he said. House Call Doctor has teams of local doctors on duty and able to provide prescriptions and medications to get people through the night or over a weekend while their regular GP is closed.
“Emergency departments are meant to deal with life-threatening and serious medical conditions, it’s a waste of their resources to be dealing with minor medical conditions,” Mr Ormond said. Qld Health chiefs said they do not want patients to take risks, but they are urging people to play their part and relieve the strain on the system by seeking alternative care and support.
Mr Ormond says House Call Doctor works after-hours and across weekends and public holidays to give people a reliable and efficient alternative to emergency departments. “All House Call Doctors travel with chaperones and our call centre triages calls as they come in so our patients have peace of mind from the moment they call for a house call,” he said.