Background Limited studies have explored the actual usage of the 'after hours GP helpline' (AGPH). Objective The objectives of the article are to describe medication-related calls to the AGPH and compare callers' original intentions versus the advice provided by the general practitioner (GP). Methods We performed a detailed descriptive statistical analysis of medication-related queries received by the AGPH in 2014. Results In 2014, 13,600 medication-related calls were made to the national AGPH. For 86.56% of calls, GPs advised callers to either self-care only, or self-care overnight and see their GP during business hours. Of the 1442 calls where the caller had originally intended to visit the emergency department (ED), 76.70% were advised by GPs to self-care, and only 5.48% were advised to call 000 or visit an ED. Overall, less than 2.26% of callers were directed to the ED, despite 10.60% of people originally calling with this intention. Discussion The availability of an after-hours service potentially prevented 1363 people from unnecessarily attending an ED and directed 228 people who had originally underestimated the seriousness of their condition to an ED.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Australian Family Physician|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|