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12 January 2011

1300HEALTH will provide FREE medical advice over the telephone for those people in flood-affected areas who cannot access their own general practitioner.

Founder of 1300HEALTH (1300 432 584) Dr Josef Goldbaum said over the coming weeks, people would need non-urgent medical advice but may not be able to get to their own GP.

1300HEALTH is usually a pay-for-use service, but we will waive that fee for the next seven days for people in flood affected areas, Dr Goldbaum said.

It is important at this time that people can get prescriptions filled and ask an experienced doctor for advice about ongoing health conditions or emergent conditions which aren't serious enough for a trip to the emergency room.

This service is at need most now, and it should be made available for free to the Queensland community. I have four doctors and myself on standby.

Dr Goldbaum said the 1300HEALTH had been in operation for four years, and had been created in response to the doctor shortage in regional and rural areas.

It was becoming obvious to me that the shrinking medical workforce was creating access issues for many people in the community, he said.

GPs have only a set number of hours in the day they can see patients, and after that it's an emergency room if they have access to one or wait until morning when they can see someone in person.

I've been providing health advice via the telephone for four years, and the bulk of questions have been from concerned parents with sick children and carers of elderly or disabled people.

Of course we may have to tell a patient to get to an emergency room, and if that's the case, we can provide a referral. But for minor wounds or illnesses, we can give advice and prescribe medication if necessary.

We're not trying to take patients away from doctors, but to provide a medical service which complements services already available in the community, Dr Goldbaum said.


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Julia Thornton

Publicity Queen

M 0409 535 530