LIFE SUPPORT: Dr Jon Harper and Dr Phebe O'Mullane at the Right Place Right Time launch last week.
LIFE SUPPORT: Dr Jon Harper and Dr Phebe O'Mullane at the Right Place Right Time launch last week. Amber Macpherson

Review need to visit hospital

A NEW campaign encouraging Sunshine Coast locals and visitors to look at alternatives to admitting to hospital with non-urgent health problems was launched last week - despite a number of the alternatives not offered in Noosa.

Noosa Hospital consultant emergency physician Dr Phebe O'Mullane joined a team of representatives at the launch of Right Place Right Time - a Federal Government initiative to help reduce waiting times in emergency rooms due to non-urgent presentations.

Dr O'Mullane said she understands there is a lack of after hours health care available in Noosa, however some issues can wait until a visit to a GP.

"I do appreciate there can be some limited resources in a regional centre,” Dr Mullane said.

"(But) we have people coming to the hospital with sprained ankles, or wanting scripts printed.

"These aren't problems hospitals should be dealing with.”

The campaign suggests visiting its website, right and using the symptom checker, calling 24-hour helpline 13HEALTH or using its doctor locator service as some of the alternate options.

Of the three home visiting doctors suggested on the website, only one services a small area near Noosa Heads. Many local doctor surgeries are only open during office hours, or charge hefty fees for weekend visits.

Dr O'Mullane said the campaign isn't about deterring people from admitting to hospital.

"We want people just to be informed about their options,” Dr O'Mullane said.

"It might save them a long and frustrating wait in the emergency department for a non-urgent ailment that could be better looked after by a general practitioner

"This isn't about not coming to the emergency department if you need to.

"If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, unwell children, trauma, the best option is coming to the emergency department.

"If you do have a life-threatening emergency, if you are sick and concerned, of course come to the emergency department and we will see you.”