An after-hours visiting GP service for seniors in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) in Melbourne’s outer east has saved the health system an estimated $500,000.
Eastern Melbourne PHN (EMPHN) funds DoctorDoctor to provide quality after-hours health care to residents of RACFs in outer suburbs who wouldn’t otherwise have access to urgent medical care when needed at night and on the weekends.
EMPHN CEO, Robin Whyte, said our economic modelling showed that after a year of operation, the service saved the health system $505,359 based on avoided hospitalisations and ambulance transport.
“Because of their location, these aged care facilities had little option other than the emergency department in the after-hours period if one of their residents needed urgent medical attention,” she said.
“When appropriate, a GP visiting a resident in the after-hours is much preferred to attendance at a hospital emergency department which can cause extra stress for the resident.”
“In fact, the majority of Residential Aged Care Facilities involved said about a quarter of those seen by DoctorDoctor would have otherwise gone to the emergency department,” she said.
DoctorDoctor General Manager, Nic Richardson, said the coordination and collaboration between EMPHN, the RACF staff, general practitioners in the region and our doctors and staff, has contributed to the success of the service.
“We are thankful for the continued commitment EMPHN has shown to ensure access for these RACF residents and appreciate the trust they have shown in our service to deliver appropriate and timely medical care,” he added.
Eastern Melbourne PHN is a Primary Health Network funded by the Australian Government to improve the care and support people receive from health services. We invest in a range of initiatives to make a difference in areas including mental health, chronic disease, after-hours healthcare, and alcohol and other drugs. www.emphn.org.a