The Western NSW PHN (WNSW PHN) After Hours Program aims to improve access to primary health care outside regular operating hours to delivering the right care, at the right time, in the right place. PHNs work to ensure that after hours primary care is coordinated and appropriate to the needs identified in the local community. WNSW PHN provides funding to a range of organisations that manage and deliver after hours services including GP Clinics, GP and nurse phone services, palliative care, diagnostic and pharmacy services.
Definition of After Hours Primary Health Care
After hours primary health care (AHPHC) is defined as accessible and effective care for people whose health condition is urgent and cannot wait for treatment until regular services are next available. There are a clear set of principles on which after hours services should be based: accessible care (appropriate, timely, available, affordable and equitable) and effective care (coordinated, high quality, safe, efficient, sustainable and supports continuity of care). The after hours period is defined as:
- before 8:00am and after 6:00pm weekdays;
- before 8:00am and after 12:00pm Saturdays; and,
- all day Sundays and public holidays.
The objectives of the program are to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of care for patients, particularly those with limited access to health services and to improve access to care through effective planning, coordination and support for population based after hours primary care.
Local After Hours Programs
Currently the service providers Marathon Health and Sunassist undertake the delivery of after hours programs previously provided by the former Medicare Locals in the region, including GP Clinics, Phone services and transport services. During the transition year from Medicare Locals, the WNSW PHN has maintained these services through continued funding to cause minimal disruption to clients.
Marathon Health currently provides a GP Clinic and GP Phone services in Dubbo & Bathurst funded by WNSW PHN. Please visit the Marathon Health website or download the information below for more information.
Sunassist Community Transport Service is supported by WNSW PHN together with Murray PHN. Sunassit provides free After Hours Transport for patients between 5pm and 8am weekdays and all day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. Patients eligible for transport include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people with disabilities, elderly people, low income earners and pension card holders.
After Hours Innovation Grant (round two)
Successful applicants for the After Hours Innovation Grant (round two) awarded in 2016 include the following organisations:
- Integrated Living – Telemonitoring services to monitor a person’s vital health signs and symptoms in their own home, with the purpose of reducing the incidence of hospitalisation in the after hours period for people with chronic health conditions.
- Pharmacy Guild of Australia, NSW Branch - After Hours Care Project to upskill pharmacy staff in managing and triaging common presentations. Evaluation of current service provision in the after hours period. Initial project delivery in 25 community pharmacies in Western NSW.
- Rural and Remote Medical Services Ltd (RaRMS) – Health Plus Project 1 & 2 designed to provide better access to after hours services for elderly people and people with disabilities living at home and in Residential Aged Care Facilities using telehealth technology. The RaRMS Health Plus Project 1 includes Lachlan Shire, Parkes Shire and Orange City Council. Project 2 includes Walgett Shire, Coonamble Shire, Brewarrina Shire, Bourke Shire and Cobar Shire.
- Broken Hill GP Super Clinic - An after hours project to fill in the gaps in GP services in and around Broken Hill; for the elderly and those in nursing homes/hostels, for patients with chronic disease and for the Aboriginal population. Integration with existing programs will also help to improve the health outcomes of patients.
Accessing After Hours Services
Healthdirect provides trusted health information and advice online and over the phone (1800 022 222), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These services are funded by the federal, state and territory governments.
Need to find a GP or pharmacy that is open after hours?
The National Health Services Directory allows consumers to easily search for the closest doctor, pharmacy or other health services that are open now, including after hours. This service is provided by Healthdirect.
After Hours Palliative Care
NSW patients receiving palliative care, their carers and families, have access to a new service for additional advice and support during the after hours period.