RESIDENTS are urged to maintain a relationship with their GP, rather than heading to emergency departments for non-urgent, minor ailments.
Rockingham doctor Christabel Samy said people often believe they do not need to maintain a relationship with a GP unless they have 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.”
Dr Samy is part of a Choose Well, When You’re Worried Sick campaign which aims to educate the public on the medical services available to them at their local GP and elsewhere so they can make the best choice of where to go for treatment.
Seeing a GP is often the best health care option and a viable alternative to emergency care, even during the holiday period.
WA Primary Health Alliance chairman 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,” he 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.”
Attention should still be sought at an emergency department for:
– Chest pain
– Severe headaches they’ve never had before
– Trouble with speech or movement
– A very sick child
– Serious accident or illness
In all these instances choosing the emergency department will help save lives and result in timely, highly skilled emergency care. Most other ailments and injuries can be treated by a GP.