Many people use after-hours doctor services when their usual doctor is closed. After hours doctors provide medical care either in your home or in special after-hours deputising clinics across Victoria.
They provide care strictly after hours meaning evenings, weekends and public holidays. They are not open during normal business hours when patients can access their own GP.
After-hours doctors fill an important gap in the provision and accessibility of acute care that does not necessarily require urgent hospital attention and therefore help to reduce the burden on emergency departments. They provide your regular doctor with a report of your consultation within 24 hours.
As of March 1st 2018, the Department of Health has imposed many restrictions on the type of service that an after-hours doctor can provide. These restrictions were introduced to reduce the use of after-hours doctors for routine or non-acute reasons that should be dealt with by your local doctor.
From March 1st 2018, after-hours doctors will no longer be able to provide:
• Repeat prescriptions (unless at the specific direction of your regular doctor)
• Immunisations and injections
• Preventative health activities such as skin checks, cervical screening, hearing checks etc.
• Ear syringing
• Mental health plans
• Chronic disease management plans
• Medication reviews
• Referrals to specialists or allied health professionals
• Routine referrals for pathology or imaging
• Routine, uncomplicated dressings
As a rule of thumb, your regular doctor should be your first point of call for all your health needs. After-hours Doctors should be reserved for those times when you are genuinely unwell and your normal clinic is closed. They are not purposed to replace your usual doctor.