It has been hard to ignore the recent stories in the media surrounding the long wait times for patients to see doctors in medical clinics and hospitals alike, and the impact that has been made on ambulances being unable to get to patients given the influx of calls to 000.
A recent article by The Age described the long wait times that have been felt at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, describing a long line of sick children having to wait to receive care, some up to 8 hours. The hospital was forced to implement disaster type plans, bringing in doctors who weren’t even on-call to come in and assist with the demand.
Another article by The Courier described how the Ballarat Base Hospital was experiencing some of the longest wait times in their Emergency room in the entire state of Victoria, reaching up to 85 minutes.
According to the Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI) the average wait overnight at Barwon Health Geelong is approximately 138 minutes and eastern suburbs' Casey Hospital 129 minutes.
Data from one of Australia's largest online healthcare booking platform, Health Engine, reveals many people are also waiting longer on average to see a GP.
In 2019 in NSW, people waited just over two-and-a-half days for an appointment. But by May 2022, that had jumped to more than four days.
Across Australia, paramedics have also been inundated with unprecedented levels of triple-zero calls, forcing people to wait several hours at home before an ambulance reaches them.
Ambulances in NSW responded to a record-high of 116,000 calls in April alone, compared to 281,400 calls in 2018 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most states and territories had a target to transfer 90 per cent patients into care within 30-40 minutes, with none able to achieve that goal.
So, what are options for those needing to access healthcare?
The consensus across all states, firstly seems to be for people take measures to look after themselves so that they can avoid needing to present to an Emergency Department if possible, and for people to only phone an ambulance if it is regarding a life-threatening emergency.
If you are unwell and are requiring advice from a doctor but can’t book in within the next few days or weeks, an ever-growing option across Australia is Telehealth.
With the use of Telehealth, you can speak with a doctor, no matter where you live in Australia, and receive advice and care without needing to leave the comfort of your home and without having to wait hours on end in a full waiting room.
Private Medical provides same-day and after-hours online consultations by experienced and qualified general practitioners, where the doctor patient relationship is paramount.
We offer 15-minute consultations as standard, with the option for longer 30-minute consultations for complex conditions, and for mental health concerns. All consultations are conducted via video, to better help treat your health conditions, build a trusting relationship with our doctors and to help maximise your health through preventive health strategies.
By speaking with a doctor at Private Medical in the first instance, you can receive a thorough consultation, certificates or medications if require, and referrals for specialist care if it is deemed necessary.
If you would like to learn more about Private Medical, or book an appointment with one of our doctors, head to our website at www.privatemedical.net, or phone our friendly team on our national phone line between 8am – 8pm AEST, 7 days per week, on 135 001.