Free after-hours medical advice from the comfort of home

Press Release – ProCare Health

For patients of many of Auckland’s GP practices, getting access to free, quality after-hours health advice from the comfort of their own home is now easier than ever.
14 October 2011

Free after-hours medical advice from the comfort of your home

For patients of many of Auckland’s GP practices, getting access to free, quality after-hours health advice from the comfort of their own home is now easier than ever.

A newly expanded telephone nurse triage service means that if a patient or their family member feels unwell and their GP practice is closed, they can now just call their usual practice number for free from a landline.

Their call will connect directly to a registered nurse who will discuss their health concern and provide expert medical advice.

“A simple phone call to your usual GP practice, before you do anything else, will provide advice and reassurance about the level of healthcare you require,” says Tania Wealleans, ProCare Senior Manager, Patient and Practice Services.

“Our registered nurses provide the very best level of medical assistance and in most cases you won’t even need to leave home; meaning you can avoid any unnecessary costs or trips to the A&E,” she adds.

Nurses assess patients and provide advice on the best course of action, either by helping them to self-manage their healthcare needs at home, or by referring them to their nearest Accident and Medical (A&M) clinic offering reduced charges, or to the emergency department if required.

“Each time a patient accesses the after-hours telephone advice service, the patient’s GP will receive a feedback report about the call, enhancing the continuity of care provided to patients,” says Ms Wealleans.

The telephone advice service is part of a wider initiative developed by the three Auckland District Health Boards, the region’s Primary Health Care Organisations (PHOs), and some of Auckland’s A&M clinics, which came together to address inconsistencies in opening hours and costs, as well as reduce the pressures on public hospital emergency departments.

When there is a need for the patient to go to an A&M clinic, certain patients groups are now eligible for free (only for under six-year-olds) or subsidised healthcare at 11 clinics across Auckland. This includes those under 6 years, over 65 years, patients with a high user heath card, or a community services card, and patients from low income areas. The nurse will be able to advise the patient over the phone which of the participating A&M clinics is closest to them.

To find out whether they are enrolled with an eligible practice offering the free after-hours telephone medical advice, patients should speak to a member of their general practice team, their doctor, or nurse.

ProCare Health – New Zealand’s largest network of GPs and general practice teams – is focused on improving the health of Aucklanders through quality general practice. ProCare represents nearly 560 GP members and 609 practice nurses in more than 200 medical practices, looking after the primary health needs of over 850,000 Aucklanders.

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