HEALTH practitioners are urging people to take the time to build a relationship with a local GP to manage their health, rather than heading to emergency departments for non-urgent, minor ailments.
The ‘Choose Well, When You’re Worried Sick’ campaign aims to educate the public on the medical services available at a local medical centre.
WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) chair Richard Choong said getting to know a GP in advance of becoming sick or injured was important for individuals and the entire health system.
“For some critical things, your local emergency department is irreplaceable,” Dr Choong said.
“However, your GP knows far more about you, your family and your medical history, so when it’s not that urgent, they can give you the best medical advice and treatment.”
A recent report produced by WAPHA and the Health Department showed that Girrawheen was a hotspot for potentially preventable hospital admissions due to diabetes complications.
“This and many of these conditions could be managed effectively by a GP, often avoiding the need to be admitted to hospital,” Dr Choong said.
Wanneroo GP Romi Ahluwalia said individuals often believed they did not need to maintain a relationship with a GP unless they had an ongoing illness.
“Even healthy individuals should stay connected to a regular GP,” she said.
“This ensures they’re always up-to-date with screening tests and vaccinations that help to pick up potential illnesses in advance.”
The alliance recommended that people seek medical attention at an emergency department for chest pain, severe headaches they’ve never had before, trouble with speech or movement, a very sick child and any serious accident or illness.
Most other ailments and injuries could be treated by a GP.
The ‘Choose Well, When You’re Worried Sick’ campaign runs until February.
For more information, visit www.myhealthcareoptions.com.au.