This article was written by the Home Doctor Brisbane Team.

After hours doctor faces cut

Medicare-funded doctor house calls within Townsville are at risk with the Federal Government under pressure to make major changes to the service.

Queensland’s largest after-hours provider of house calls, House Call Doctor, is concerned with the potential repercussions of services being axed in Townsville and across Australia.

House Call Doctor area manager Keith Jennings said since January the Townsville service had doubled and now had four cars delivering thousands of house calls every month, but said everything could soon be taken away.

“Those cars will be off the road, jobs will go and patients will lose an essential Medicare service,” Mr Jennings said.

“We want to expand the service to give people greater access to urgent after-hours health care and right now the reality is it is in jeopardy.”

A Deloitte Access Economics report was released in Canberra yesterday in ­response to calls for the home-visiting Medicare ­rebate to be cut in the Government’s Medicare Benefits Schedule review.

The report says without house calls there would be a $25 million increase in annual costs for Queensland Health as patients turned to public hospital emergency departments for treatment.

Kirwan resident Julie Vigor said she was concerned by the potential loss of the House Call Doctor service, which she recently used to seek treatment for her seriously ill son.

“My two children both had stomach pains andafter being discharged from the hospital my son (Corbin, 11) still was not recovering,” Ms Vigor said.

“A House Call Doctor member came to my house and they advised I take him back to hospital for a second time where we found out he actually had an infected ­appendix and was then operated on the next day.”

She said Corbin was making a full recovery.

“The service was invaluable, and being bulk-billed made a huge difference as money is tight,” she said.

House Call Doctor chief operating officer Craig ­Glover said the suggested ­removal of house calls was an attack on an essential Medicare service that was proven to be keeping patients out of hospital emergency departments, with more than 2.8 million house calls made across Australia last year.

“Our doctors save lives and the service saves taxpayer money – millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer money – by giving people an alternative to hospital emergency departments,” Mr Glover said.

According to him, no one from the industry group ­representing after-hours home call doctors had been asked to participate in the Medicare Benefits Schedule review.


Original Source: Townsville Bulletin | Andrew Gurr | 22nd November 2017