GP clinic vouchers offered to ease emergency service pressure in Southland


Another District Health Board (DHB), this time in the South Island, is offering patients vouchers to get them out of its emergency department for free to GP clinics.

Photo: 123RF

Southland Hospital is triaging and diverting patients from its emergency department to medical clinics, as an average of 104 patients show up there each day.

Southern DHB says the influx of winter illnesses is intensifying pressure on its emergency department, which may increase patient wait times.

Southland Hospital will digitally transfer patients who do not need to be in the emergency room to two Invercargill medical centers, He Puna Waiora Wellness Center and Invercargill Medical Center.

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DHB will cover the full cost of the appointments, which can be around $80. He had no forecast of how many appointments he might end up funding.

“We haven’t set a number that we anticipate this trial will help inform that answer to the question,” Southland Hospital chief executive Simon Donlevy said.

“This initiative helps patients get the care they need in the most appropriate place and allows us to get treatment to patients who need the emergency department faster,” Donlevy said.

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There are other calls to make doctor’s appointments more affordable so people go to the GP instead of the hospital.

WellSouth Primary Health Network chief executive Andrew Swanson-Dobbs wants more public funding to break down the cost barrier.

“I would like to see the cost of GP go down, the workforce go up and the reliance on hospitals as free GP go down, so we really need to see the investment,” he said. declared.

Swanson-Dobbs said primary health at Invercargill was also under pressure.

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“We still have Covid, we have winter flus, other winter ailments, and then we have normal daily GP presentations that we work with those practices to help achieve,” he said.

Wellington area hospitals also cover doctor’s appointments for patients who do not need to be in pressurized emergency departments.

In south Auckland, 27 GP practices offered free appointments over two weekends at the request of the Manukau Counties Health Board as the emergency department at Middlemore Hospital was closed overwhelmed.



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