The after hours doctor is not exactly a brand new phenomenon. Some practitioners dating back to the 1950s, 60s and 70s have taken their medical kit with them on the road to service patients who are incapable of visiting a GP’s office or a hospital, or simply prefer the ability to call on someone without having to make the travel in the comfort of their own home.
Workers in the field of the after hours doctor are usually off duty medical professionals. Some do specialise in this department with a very demanding schedule that usually ranges between the hours of 6pm to 8am. This will largely depend on the market and demographics, with a larger population base in the cities increasing demand and stretching services than those in rural regions.
Whatever the case maybe and under whatever conditions, it is important for members of the general public to understand some of the important facets about this field. Here we will outline a handful of points that are pertinent to this topic.
Appointments Made Online
Whilst phone calls can still be made for an after hours doctor, many patients in 2018 are willing and able to head to a website of the service provider and book them on the spot. This scheduled visit can allow the practitioner to bring the right equipment for the ailment that the individual is suffering from with some context and past medical history. Such an advancement has also been evident with the average GP who operates during business hours between 9am-5pm, but is not always the case depending on the nature of the practice.
Mixture of Walk-In and Home Visit
The field of the after hours doctor can incorporate one of two essential categories – from the walk-in practice to home callouts. Some specialists could provide a mixture of the two, but these are in place to give patients the option of visiting a professional in a medical environment complete with all of the technology and machinery necessary to run tests. Others will bring along a kit complete with testing equipment, especially if it is a simple procedure such as monitoring blood pressure or injecting a flu vaccine.
Costs Incurred For Some Patients
Depending on your age status and qualification for a healthcare card, there may or may not be a cost involved for the visit of an after hours doctor. Card holders and pensioners are bulked billed for this service whilst a rebate can be issued for Medicare recipients. A general fee in the region of $36-$55 will be issued for those of non-urgent callouts whereas an urgent callout can incur a cost of between $130-$150.
Not For Severe Emergencies
It should be made evident to all in sundry that the after hours doctor is not intended to be a substitute for a regular doctor’s visit that is scheduled, or to visit a chemist, dentist, chiropractor or any other medical specialist. Should you be experiencing significant pain or could be at risk of suffering from a life-threatening illness or ailment, then an emergency ambulance must be called as quickly as humanly possible.
There have been multiple case studies and examples that have found patients to call upon an after hours doctor when they should have dialed 000 to bring aboard an ambulance to take them to the hospital. Should there be a moment of distress where time is of the essence, then do not consider these professionals as a suitable substitute.
Hopefully these discussion points have offered further clarity on the topic of the after hours doctor. Alterations to this field at government and commercial levels might change how this practice is managed in the long-term future, but it is important for members of the general to have an understanding about the intricacies that differentiate the after hours doctor from those who operate during business hours.