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Making Health Better
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Enhanced service to address Mater after-hours GP service closure, and busy Christmas and New Year period

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) has announced an increase in after-hours home visiting doctor services for Mackay residents in response to confirmation that the Mater Private GP After Hours service will cease operations this week (Sunday 2 December).

The current Mater after-hours service will stop operating to enable its transition into the new state-of-the-art, upgraded Level 3 Emergency Care Centre, which will open in February 2019.

NQPHN Area Manager Mackay Jennifer Burnham said NQPHN has mobilised an additional doctor through the bulk-billing House Call Doctor service to address the two-month service gap, which will also further support the community during the traditionally busy Christmas and New Year period.

“The new Emergency Care Centre is an exciting development for Mackay, and its state-of-the-art health facilities will provide a higher level of service to patients with more complex and severe conditions than those a GP would normally provide care for,” said Mrs Burnham.

“We do understand the closure of the current Mater Private GP After Hours service and upgrade to the Emergency Care Centre will cause disruption in services for residents during this transition period.

“However, to plug this gap while the necessary refurbishments take place, NQPHN is supporting an increase in current home visiting doctor services during this period.

“House Call Doctor’s home visiting service provides local residents with after-hours help for conditions that they would normally speak to their GP about in the after-hours period when their regular treating GP is not available.

“This offers another option to local residents, rather than going to the Mackay Base Hospital’s Emergency Department for minor GP-type issues in the after-hours period.

“We appreciate that many Mackay residents have come to rely upon the Mater Private GP After Hours Service, particularly when their family is unwell, and that its closure will cause an inconvenience for the community until the new centre opens.

“We also know that the school holiday and Christmas and New Year period is a busy time for after-hours services, with some GPs unavailable who would otherwise provide after-hours consultations.

“However, we believe the enhanced House Call Doctor service will provide the Mackay community with a high-quality and reliable after-hours service over the next nine weeks.”

The House Call Doctor service will provide coverage across Mackay and west of Balberra to Homebush, the greater population of Mirani including Devereux Creek, and north of The Leap to Balnagowan.

The additional doctor will be operational between Monday-Friday 6pm to 2am, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 2am, and public holidays from 12 noon to midnight.

Mrs Burnham said she strongly encourages the Mackay community to review the information on www.sickafterhours.com.au to find all local services available in the after-hours period, including House Call Doctor.

“I would also like to encourage anyone feeling unwell to seek non-urgent medical support during business hours – if possible – rather than waiting until after work or school, or at night-time or weekends,” she said.

“For people with chronic and complex conditions who are familiar with cyclone season planning, I encourage you to check your current medications and make sure you have enough.

“If not, please book an appointment with your regular treating GP to ensure you do not run out of medications during this period.”