Finding medical help when you need it most
Often when we think about the emergency department, we think about sudden or traumatic events. We think about car accidents, heart attacks, burns or broken bones. Certainly, these are all conditions seen in emergency departments across Tasmania, but another type of person presenting to emergency departments, are those whose chronic condition has become worse.
A chronic health condition is an illness a person lives with for weeks or months, sometimes their entire lives. Examples of chronic health conditions include diabetes, arthritis, emphysema or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or chronic pain. Conditions like these are often well managed, but sometimes there are periods where symptoms become worse, or the person becomes ill. Should an episode like this occur overnight, on a weekend, or other after hours periods when GP clinics are closed, making the right decision on getting suitable after hours care is important, but also complex.
The Tas After Hours website (this website) provides a range of options to assist you in making the right after hours care decision for your situation. It provides access to HealthDirect; a 24 hour, free helpline where you can speak with a nurse about your condition. The nurse can provide information on self-management, advice on how soon you should see a doctor, advise where you can access an after hours GP or, if the situation requires, call an ambulance on your behalf. This website also offers a range of additional helplines, an online symptom checker which provides a recommendation on how soon you should access care and a directory of after hours services near you.
Tas After Hours website also allows you to call your GP, so the next time you need to know who to call when the GP is closed, all the answers will be in one place.