When you need an after-hours clinic there are a number of options available. Finding medical help when your local practice is closed can sometimes be challenging and even a little stressful. That is why knowing where you can find an after-hours clinic, or just basic medical help, is crucial so that you don’t find yourself panicking.
Emergency medical help
In the case of requiring emergency medical help it is always advised that you dial triple zero (000) or go to the emergency department of your closest hospital. Some private hospitals do have emergency departments but this will likely incur more costs. It is always advised that you visit the nearest hospital but feel free to ask the nurse about costs on arrival.
For non-urgent medical issues
In the case of non-urgent medical issues you may not need to visit or get in contact with an after-hours clinic. Most states throughout Australia have some form of free helpline service for people seeking medical advice when the practices are closed. This can be really convenient for smaller issues as you are able to avoid the costs and hassle of visiting an after-hours clinic.
These services provide professional health advice from registered nurses who may be able to assist in medication or actions that will help to improve the patient.
Pharmacists and pharmacies
Pharmacists provide a free service and are often able to assist with basic medical questions and issues. Many now stay open late so there is bound to be one close by. Whilst this does require leaving your home, it can be easier and more cost effective than visiting an after-hours clinic as the consultation is cost free and without an appointment or wait time.
Pharmacists are able to aid with minor health issues like coughs and colds and can recommend over the counter medicine. For any injuries they will also stock bandages and dressings that can be used to treat the injury.
Many practices will stay open and offer an after-hours clinic for those who are unable to get in during the day or for late night issues that can arise. These after-hours clinics operate exactly the same as a regular doctor’s service although it is important to be prepared for a longer wait time as they can often be busy with limited after-hours clinics in most cities.
Before visiting it is important to:
- Call to be sure that there are appointments available
- Check to see if there will be a long wait time
- The cost of the service, whether it is bulk bill or pay up front.
Some after-hours clinics offer home visits by doctors late at night so that the practice doesn’t need to stay open but they are still able to offer medical services. Most practices will have a general message for callers that outline the after-hours clinic services they offer. It will usually give you a number to call that will direct you to a specific doctor and this number should be kept for future use.
However, not all practices offer this service and you may need to find an alternative option. There are many businesses that only offer home doctor visits and these will sometimes run 24/7. It is wise to have a good idea of the options that you have available to you before the time comes. This means asking family and friends, your general practitioner and doping a little research about the options that are offered in your area. The last thing you want is to be worried and stressed when you need to find a medical service.