Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Health hotline attracts mixed response -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

(generated from captions) watching them I find it a real shot in the arm. This Program is Captioned

by first the Federal Live. Those stories coming up

Government's announcement today

that it will inject more money

into after hours doctor services has prompted a mixed

reaction from health expert s.

Under the latest proposal 63

general practitioner clinics

across the country will be

given grants up to $1 #00,000

to offer extended services

including direct home doctors. It's part of a $263

million push by Government to try to reduce the number of

departments. people who end up in emergency

departments. It also includes

the recent launch of the recent launch of a national

GP hotline. Health experts say

while the hotline has been a

great comfort for many people

it doesn't change the fact that

in 85% of cases patients really

do need hospital care.

They're usually

situations, especially if your

child can't breathe, that's a

scary thing to go through. This is kind of This is kind of Chris

cringele type gifts. It's not

going to create a reformation

but would you rather have it

than not have it, sure. It's

been decades since the old school family GP could be

dragged from his bed for house

calls. The doctor has

technically qualified to make

them feel better. The patient

expects that the doctor

his best. In fact for most

Australians an out of hours

medical crisis almost always

ends with a marathon wait in hospital casualty. For

3-year-old Elsie Faulkner and

her parents it's no question

that a panic trip to the

nearest hospital is the only

option when she goes into anfa

lactic shock, the result of

acute food algae allergies and

asthma. If she's to an oxygen pump, there can be

varying degrees but the

situations we've had, if she

doesn't have ox e-Jen -

oxygen, her oxygen starts going downwards very sharp l. But

for many people, especially parents of young children, simply getting access to a

local doctor may well be enough. And after repeated promises

promises of a branch hospital

reform, the Gillard Government

is now attempting to take some

with a modest yet popular move

to expand after hours medical

care. All up the Government is

spending $26 0 million making

it easier for people to see a

GP when they need to, where

they need to. If people can get

a couple of stitches or get a

little bit of advice about the temperature they're running

from a GP it's much better to

do that than to turn up to an

emergency department. Today's announcement of grants up

$100,000 for 63 GP clinics

across the country is the

latest federal initiative to

help boost after hours health

will mean more home visits by care. For some communities that

doctors. In others, extended

opening hours at the local GP

practice.. It will also

complement the after hours GP

helpline launched 4 months ago,

which is designed to help

assess patients and where

possible divert them away from

hospitals. Well the GP hotline has received

already in its first few months of operation and about a third

of those calls are from the

parents of children under the

age of 5. It can be a very

nerve wracking time if

got a child who wakes up in the

night with a temperature or a

rash and sometimes what parents

need is a little bit of

reassurance from the doctor on

the other end of the phone. Sometimes what they need is to

get their child to a hospital

quickly as they can. When you or to a medical specialist as

scratch below the surface this

Government ripped out $60 million from after hours care

programs last year and yet they

want us to applaud an

investment of $6 million today,

I think it's smoke and mirrors. Sydney jewellery

designer nah tallia Heath had

no idea she needed medical care

recently when her hand started

to stiffen and swell when she

was bitten by a cat. Because I

didn't want to go to emergency

basically. I didn't want to

particularly go there but I

also didn't want to clog up the

ringing the GP help line on the ringing the GP help line on the

advice of a late night chemist

admitted for emergency that she found herself being

spent more time in hospital had surgery. I probably would have

I waited because the infection I waited

would have spread and I would

have been a lot sick ner the

morning. Public health expert

s say while the Government's

first baby steps towards providing alternatives to

hospital were commendable, the lion's share of hospital hospital were commendable, the

admissions are still patients

with chronic conditions.

Patients who could have avoided

hospital entirely if they had had access to the right

treatment. We should not see it

as the kind of magic People sort of breezing up and

being regarded as an

inappropriate arrival at

emergency department are not

the vast majority. They may be 10, 15% but the vast 10, 15% but the vast majority

of people that have a real

need. The Australian Medical

Association has also questioned

whether the helpline will

reduce pressure just add another layer to the

system. There's no doubt

calling someone makes people

feel better. The real question

we've got to ask is does that change presentations at emergency departments or even

does it change presentations to

people going to their family doctor. There

doctor. There is one thing

that's probably useful here and

that is that talking to

somebody in person who's a

medical person is a lot better

than going on the Internet and

doing your own research. But no

matter how carefully crafted,

the Government's efforts to

steer patients away from hospitals hospitals say the experts, it's

still just as terrifying when

you wake in the night

struggling to breathe or

panicked by chest pains. It's a

lonely business trying to deal

with that on your own. I think

that we've got to be very

careful with this rhetoric

about don't go to hospital if

you've got a health problem

because it's not for you. Well, sorry, it is for you, that's