18 December 2023

There are many after hours healthcare services available to your patients when your practice is closed, including the new Campbelltown Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (Medicare UCC).

Residents of Campbelltown and surrounding areas needing immediate medical care for non-life threatening conditions, can visit the Medicare UCC at Campbelltown Medical and Dental Centre, 296 Queen Street.

Centrally located across from Campbelltown Mall, the UCC offers free (bulk-billed) care from 8am to 6pm, seven days a week, including public holidays, with no appointment required.

Some common illnesses or injuries which receive priority care include:

  • lacerations/cuts requiring stitches
  • basic fracture management and sprains
  • minor burns
  • rashes
  • urinary tract infections
  • insect and animal bites
  • respiratory conditions
  • ENT infections
  • gastroenteritis
  • deep vein thrombosis

Patients can book online, call 4637 2355 or just walk-in.

If your patients would like information about their other after hours healthcare options or the Healthdirect Service Finder, please direct them to our website, and help keep the hospital emergency room for emergencies only.

24 July 2023

Reminder: you can access services in South Western Sydney

After hours healthcare services are available for South Western Sydney residents.

If your condition is urgent and you can’t wait or are not able to see a doctor during opening hours, then consider using a SWSPHN-funded after hours healthcare service.

If you are experiencing a time-critical emergency and/or dealing with unconsciousness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, uncontrolled bleeding or a major accident, dial 000 immediately.

Where can you go to access these after hours healthcare services?

My Emergency Doctor

My Emergency Doctor is a free online doctor emergency service which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

After hours include:

  • Weekdays – before 8am and after 6pm
  • Saturdays – before 8am after 12pm
  • Sundays and public holidays – all day

Visit the My Emergency Doctor website to connect online, or call 1800 001 003 to speak to a doctor.

Southern Highlands GP After Hours Service

Southern Highlands GP After Hours Service provides a free telephone service on weeknights, weekends and public holidays, and a GP After Hours Clinic in Bowral on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Visit their website www.shgpahs.com.au for details or call 4861 6433.

The national service Healthdirect also has handy tools to help connect you with a GP after hours.

Healthdirect Service Finder

Healthdirect Service finder helps you find medical practices that are open and within your area.

Healthdirect also provide free information and advice from trusted health professionals.

23 May 2023

Sydney Medical Service Co-op Ltd (SMS) will no longer be funded to provide after hours services in the Camden and Wollondilly Local Government Areas (LGAs) from 1 July 2023.

Practices in those LGAs which have formal after hours agreements in place with SMS, must make new arrangements to meet the requirements and obligations of the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) After Hours Incentive Guidelines.

What are your PIP After Hours Incentive obligations?

The RACGP Standards for general practices – 5th edition requires general practices to have after-hours care arrangements in place for their patients, if they are unable to deliver after-hours care directly.

General practices must ensure their patients:

  1. Are informed about how they can access after-hours care and
  2. Patients can access after hours care, to meet standard GP1.3 – Care outside normal operating hours

What is considered after hours?

For the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) the complete after hours period is:

  • Monday to Friday (weekdays) between 6pm to 8am
  • Saturday before 8am and after 12pm
  • Sunday and Public Holidays – all day

The complete after-hours period is further broken into:

  • Sociable after-hours period – 6pm to 11pm weeknights
  • Unsociable after-hours period – 11pm to 8am weekdays, hours outside of 8am and 12pm Saturdays, all day Sundays and public holidays

What are the PIP After Hours Incentive guidelines?

The Practice Incentive Program (PIP) After Hours Incentive supports general practices to provide their patients with appropriate access to after-hours care.

Find out more

What steps do I take if my practice is impacted?

Practices will only need to notify PIP via the IP030 form or online via HPOS if they are changing the arrangement they have in place for payment. For example, if they go from level one eligibility requirements to level three eligibility requirements for the PIP After Hours Incentive payment.

If the practice’s level structure is the same and it is only changing after hours providers, the practice will need to make the arrangement with the new medical deputising service and advise National Health Services Directory, a requirement for all payment levels.

The RACGP Supporting continuity and access guide can support your practice in establishing an agreement with an after hours service provider.

What after hours providers does SWSPHN commission?

SWSPHN commissions two after-hours care providers to ensure patients have access to suitable healthcare at all times of the day or night, across all seven LGAs in our region.

My Emergency Doctor

Area: South Western Sydney

Mode: Telehealth and video call

Practitioners: Emergency Specialist Doctors (Fellows of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine or FACEMs).

Website:  My Emergency Doctor

Phone: 1800 001 003

Southern Highlands GP After Hours Service

Area: Southern Highlands / Wingecarribee Shire

Mode: Face-to-face home visits and clinic, telehealth

Practitioners: GPs

Website: www.shgpahs.com.au

Phone: 4861 6433

Information of these services can be found on the SWSPHN website and HealthPathways.

Who can help?

If you have questions about the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) After Hours Incentive, please contact your PSO.

If you have questions about SWSPHN-commissioned after hours providers, please contact Lucy.Hobbs@swsphn.com.au

10 May 2023

The strong focus on primary care, with the tripling of the bulk billing incentive and investment in the health workforce to better meet the health needs of the Australians in the 21st century, were among the welcome features of Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kristen Short, said there was little doubt primary care had been struggling in recent years, with fewer practices in a position to bulk bill, further highlighting the need for strong and ongoing funding commitment for the sector.

“The $3.5 billion committed to bulk billing incentives, $98.2 million for new Medicare rebates for patients who require consultations of longer than 60 minutes and $445.1 million to support team-based care in general practice, are welcome measures to support the revival and protection of a healthcare system which has served us well for decades,” she said.

Other investments of interest to primary care, in particular general practices in South Western Sydney include:

  • $358.5 million for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics
  • $143.9 million for after hours primary care
  • $91.5 million to improve mental health by addressing workforce shortages

Ms Short said SWSPHN had a particular focus on innovative projects like iRAD, the New to General Practice Nursing program and My Care Partners to build capacity and support our general practices in delivering accessible, effective and timely care to our community.

She noted investment in digital health ($951.2 million); increasing the number of nurses in primary care ($10.7 million); and increasing incentives for general practices to employ a range of health professionals to provide team-based primary care ($445.1 million) would support those projects which were already improving the health of our region.

“Primary care is the cornerstone of our healthcare system, and SWSPHN looks forward to continuing to work with and support primary care providers across our region on the projects, services and other activities funded in this budget.

“We particularly welcome the focus in the budget on multidisciplinary team care and voluntary patient enrolment and look forward to seeing how it complements our local medical neighbourhood model of care, My Care Partners, which has been working for the past two years to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and enhance care coordination for people with multiple chronic diseases.”

02 May 2023

The Australian Government says a $2.2 billion package of Strengthening Medicare measures will address immediate challenges in primary care, take pressure off the hospital system and lay the foundations for long-term Medicare reform.

The measures announced on Friday, 28 April aim to deliver on the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report and will be funded through the Strengthening Medicare Fund.

The measures include:

  • Supporting workforces to work at top of scope, including pharmacists, paramedics
  • Expanding the nursing workforce to improve access to primary care
  • Improving access to and delivery of after-hours primary care
  • Introducing My Medicare to support wrap around care for patients registered with their local GP through new blended payment models
  • Providing flexible funding for multi-disciplinary team-based models to improve quality of care.
  • Investing in digital health to improve health outcomes

The Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said the government was committed to ensuring all Australians, no matter their income or where they lived, could access the healthcare they needed, when and where they needed it.

“The Government is strengthening Medicare for future generations – by addressing current challenges and seizing opportunities to improve the health and aged care system.”

This table provides an overview of the measures announced on Friday.

Further details on the funding of these policies will be provided in next Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

22 June 2022

If you or a family member is sick when your regular GP’s practice is closed, do you know your options?

After hours medical care is available across South Western Sydney for non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses such as coughs, colds and fevers, minor cuts or burns, sporting injuries, migraines, stomach bugs and various infections.

The healthcare service gives local residents greater access to GP care closer to home on weekday evenings, weekends and public holidays, ensuring patients are not attending local hospital emergency departments unnecessarily.

After hours care can be provided via face-to-face consultation or at home, in a clinic, or via telehealth or video call, depending on the provider. SWSPHN funds three after hours services, providing services across the seven local government areas in our region.

These include:

  • My Emergency Doctor
  • Southern Highlands GP After Hours Service
  • Sydney Medical Service Co-op – after hours GP home visiting service

The after hours period is: Monday to Friday, 6pm to 8am; Saturday, before 8am and after 12pm; and all day Sundays and public holidays.

Find out more about the services

14 September 2020

If your regular GP is closed and you need after hours medical care, a new service operating across South Western Sydney is giving patients immediate, convenient access to emergency specialist doctors for diagnosis and treatment of urgent, non-emergency medical conditions.

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) has funded My Emergency Doctor to provide medical care after hours at no cost via phone or video to people who aren’t sure if they need to go to the hospital Emergency Department.

A consultation with My Emergency Doctor may be appropriate if you or your loved ones require urgent attention for medical conditions including: abdominal pain; fainting; headache/head injury/concussion; flu; fever; rashes, bites and stings; back pain; sore throat; diarrhoea and vomiting; acute injury; headache; urinary tract infections; allergic reactions; sports injuries; and work injuries.

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, said My Emergency Doctor would complement the existing care provided by the patient’s regular GP who should always be the first point of contact for those needing non-emergency medical care.

“It’s natural to be anxious and unsure where to turn when you or a loved one needs medical care after your regular GP’s practice has closed for the night or the weekend,” he said.

“Our message is: there are options available besides the emergency room at your local hospital.

“My Emergency Doctor is convenient, accessible and no appointment is needed. Importantly, the service provides you with continuity of care because with your consent, your nominated GP can be sent a summary of your consultation.”

In addition to being assessed and treated by experienced doctors, patients can access prescriptions, X-ray and pathology referrals and My Emergency Doctor will arrange emergency patient transport to hospital if required. With patient consent, consultation summaries can be sent from My Emergency Doctor to the patient’s GP which outline the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan and case outcome.

Additionally, My Emergency Doctor can support consultations in multiple languages via the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National). Patients or their carers will need to be able to communicate the language for which they require a translator, their return contact phone number and their Medicare card number in English.

Founder and MedicalDirector of My Emergency Doctor, Dr Justin Bowra (pictured), said My Emergency Doctor had worked in collaboration with GPs and Primary Health Networks nationally to complement primary care pathways since 2016.

“I am thrilled that our telemedicine service will now be assisting the diverse population of South Western Sydney with their medical needs in the after hours period when they cannot reach their regular GP,” said Dr Bowra, who has worked in Emergency Departments at both Liverpool and Bankstown hospitals.

After hours, if you are sick, injured or need non-emergency medical care you should:

  • First, contact your regular GP to check if they are open or have after hours arrangements in place.
  • Otherwise, download the Healthdirect app and use the ‘Find a health service’ section to check which local practices are open near you.
  • If these options are not readily available to you, contact My Emergency Doctor for free, after hours consultations Monday to Friday, 6pm to 8am; Saturday, 12pm to 8am; Sunday and Public Holidays, 24 hours.

To access the service, call the hotline on 1800 001 033

Visit the My Emergency Doctor website to find more information.

My Emergency Doctor

If you are suffering a time-critical emergency such as chest pain, breathing difficulty, uncontrolled bleeding or have been in a major accident call 000 without delay.

31 August 2020

SWSPHN has commissioned a telemedicine service, My Emergency Doctor, to provide our region’s residents with convenient access to emergency specialist care in the after hours period. ‘After hours’ is defined as:

  • before 8am and after 6pm on weekdays;
  • before 8am and after 12pm on Saturdays; and
  • all day Sundays and public holidays.

My Emergency Doctor is provided at no cost to patients outside regular practice opening hours and aims to complement care provided by GPs. Calls made outside these hours will incur a fee.

 

What does the service cover?

My Emergency Doctor covers acute medical conditions when a patient’s regular GP is not available after hours, and if they are unsure if they should attend a hospital Emergency Department (ED) or the nearest ED is not easily accessible.

 

How is it accessed?

The service can be accessed via phone or a smart device app, available on the App Store or Google Play, and is delivered by specialist emergency physicians who are Fellows of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (FACEMs).

 

Features and benefits

My Emergency Doctor works in collaboration with the patient’s regular care provider. Providing patient consent is given, the GP will receive a post-consultation summary that outlines the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan and case outcome.

Additionally, My Emergency Doctor can support consultations in multiple languages via The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National). Patients or their carers will need to be able to communicate the language for which they a translator, their return contact phone number and Medicare card number in English.

 

What should I do?

GPs are encouraged to share the dedicated SWSPHN My Emergency Doctor hotline number and website link with patients who may want to use the service when their regular GP is closed.

The website link outlines how to use the service, including instructions on how to use the phone service or download the My Emergency Dr app using eligible residential post codes.

 

How do I find out more?

Practices should contact SWSPHN if they’d like to have printed information brochures available at their practice.

In the event a video connection to the My Emergency Dr app cannot be made, telephone connection is available by calling 1800 001 033.

Please note this service is not a replacement for 000 – if the patient is unconscious, has chest pain, difficulty breathing, uncontrolled bleeding or has been in a major accident, please dial 000.

To find more information

12 August 2020

South Western Sydney doctors are urging the community to make their GP their first port of call when they’re sick and save hospital emergency departments for emergencies, especially as we head into the busy winter flu season.

Elderslie GP Matthew Gray (pictured above) said this winter it was important for sick patients to consider their medical care options and their regular GP was the best place to start.

“Having a regular GP is vital to keeping you well and staying well,” he said.

“GPs can help you with short-term problems and chronic conditions and can continue to care for you throughout your life. If you’re sick of an evening or on the weekend and your GP is not open, visit after-hours services – keep the emergency department for emergencies.”

Bowral GP Jo Senior (pictured above) said sick patients’ first port of call should be their GP.

“It’s been a difficult time for everyone lately, but GPs want you to know that we’re still here for you,” she said.

“Even during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s safe to visit your GP. If you can avoid the emergency department, save the emergency department for emergencies and call your GP first.”

If patients are seriously sick or hurt they should go to the hospital emergency department for treatment.

Dr Rebecca Davis, specialty emergency physician at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, said GPs played a key role in dealing with many medical conditions that did not need attention in a busy emergency department.

“Some of the symptoms which might bring patients to the emergency department included severe chest pain, trouble breathing, severe burns or unconsciousness or feeling seriously unwell,” she said.

Dr Omar Albavati, emergency doctor at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, has reminded the community to practice good hand hygiene this winter and to cover their mouths with their elbows or use a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing.

“If you feel sick, stay home, don’t socialise, either call your GP or call triple 000,” he said.

14 July 2020

Local doctors have joined forces to urge the community not to neglect their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

General practices across South Western Sydney have noted a reduction in patients visiting their surgeries and are concerned about the long-term consequences of delaying routine healthcare, especially for patients with chronic health problems.

Launching the joint South Western Sydney Primary Health Network and South Western Sydney Local Health District campaign this month, local GPs and emergency doctors are reassuring the community it is safe to seek medical care and that your regular health should not take a backseat during the pandemic.

They warn, neglecting your regular health or chronic conditions now could lead to serious health issues and worsening chronic conditions down the track.

A health consumer survey about access to healthcare found 32 per cent of respondents had missed appointments with their GP during the pandemic.

The survey of 729 people was conducted by the Continuity of Care Collaboration, a national communication collaboration of 15 peak bodies, industry and healthcare organisations.

It found 36 per cent of people were worried about taking public transport to appointments; 36 per cent were worried health services were too busy; 31 per cent did not feel safe visiting healthcare services in person; 28 per cent found telehealth could be difficult to use due to technology or poor access to internet/phone; and 23 per cent were worried they could be breaking lockdown rules.

Last month the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Federal Government issued a plea to all Australians not to put off seeing their GP.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said whether in person, or through the expanded telehealth network, it was critical that people continued to manage their general health throughout the COVID-19 health emergency.

“Your GP is there to help you follow your treatment plan and improve your health,” he said.

GPs have urged the community to continue to have regular check-ups, have blood tests and fill prescriptions for chronic conditions, get flu vaccinations and book cancer screenings.

Bowral GP Jo Senior said doctors knew how to keep their practices safe.

“Your health is important to us and every GP is taking steps to provide you with safe medical care,” she said.

“We want you to continue to come and visit us or talk to us over the phone, especially if you have a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease. With telephone and telehealth consultations available it’s never been easier to stay in touch with your GP.

“It’s also really important that you continue to fill your prescriptions.

“If you’re feeling unwell the first place to call is your GP.”

Elderslie GP Matthew Gray agreed, emphasising the message that patients should not delay seeking medical care.

“Now more than ever it’s vitally important for your health and wellbeing to seek care if you need it,” he said. “As GPs, we can help you with short-term problems and chronic conditions. Getting to know you is what we as GPs do, so we can care for you your entire life.

“Your health is important to us – please don’t delay seeking treatment.”

Emergency physicians have echoed the GPs’ calls for patients not to wait for the end of the pandemic before seeking medical care.

Dr Matthew Smith, from Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, said it was safe to seek medical help even during the pandemic as emergency departments had procedures for safely dealing with people who may have COVID-19 as well as other presentations.

“If you’ve got symptoms such as a sore throat, cough or fever, visit your nearest testing centre for a COVID-19 test or phone your GP to discuss which options are available for you,” he said.

“If you have problems you should present to the Emergency Department. Now it’s more important than ever to take care of your health. Your health is really important to us.

“Remember to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies.”

Visit the SWSPHN website for community information about COVID-19:

Information and support

Testing options

Mental health support