With hospital health care workers busier than ever, it's never been more important to leave emergency rooms for emergencies only.
But what do you do if you've got a medical condition and your regular GP is closed?
That's where the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network's new My Emergency Doctor service comes in.
The new service gives patients the opportunity to access emergency specialist doctors for diagnosis and treatment of urgent, non-emergency medical conditions after-hours and on weekends.
My Emergency Doctor is available at no cost to the patient via phone or video.
SWSPHN chief executive Dr Keith McDonald said the service would complement the existing care provided by the patient's regular GP - who should always be the first point of contact for non-emergency medical concerns.
"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 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."
Some of the conditions which may be suitable for My Emergency Doctor consultations include abdominal pain, headache, head injury, concussion, flu, fever, rashes, bites and stings, back pain, sore throat, diarrhoea, vomiting, acute injury, headache, urinary tract infections, allergic reaction, sports injuries and work injuries.
The specialist doctors can assess the conditions, prescribe medication, refer the patients for X-rays and pathology, and even arrange emergency transport to hospital if required.
They can also consult in multiple languages via the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National). All patients need to do is communicate the language they speak, their contact number and Medicare number in English and a translator will be arranged.
My Emergency Doctor founder Dr Justin Bowra - who has worked in both Liverpool and Bankstown hospitals - said the service had worked in collaboration with Gps and Primary Health Networks nationally 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," he said.
After hours, if you are sick, injured or need non-emergency medical care you should:
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.
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