Medication-related queries received for 'after hours GP helpline' - Comparison of callers' intentions with GPs' advice

Amina Tariq*, Ling Li, Mary Byrne, Maureen Robinson, Johanna Westbrook, Melissa T. Baysari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-667
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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