Emergency visits plea
West Australians are being urged to see their GP for minor illnesses rather than clog up busy hospital emergency departments.
In the lead-up to Christmas and the summer holidays, the WA Primary Health Alliance said more than 200,000 people went to WA emergency departments each year with ailments that could be attended to by a GP.
Alliance chairman and GP Richard Choong said at a cost of at least $600 an emergency department visit, it added up to a $120 million bill for taxpayers.
“For some critical things, your local emergency department is irreplaceable,” he said. “But your GP knows far more about you ... and your medical history, so when it’s not that urgent they can give you the best medical advice and treatment.”
WAPHA operates the State’s three Federally-funded Primary Health Networks and will run a campaign until February urging people to avoid emergency departments where possible, particularly over Christmas.
Health Minister Roger Cook said almost one in five attendances at emergency departments in 2015-16 were by patients requiring care that could have been managed by other health providers. Cathy O’Leary