Medication-related queries received for ‘after hours GP helpline’ – Comparison of callers’ intentions with GPs’ advice
By: Tariq A, Li L, Byrne M, Robinson M, Westbrook J, Baysari MT.
Australian Family Physician 2016 Sep;45(9):661-7.
Summary: Limited studies have explored the actual usage of the after-hour GP helplines (AGPH). The objectives of the article were to describe medication-related calls to the AGPH and compare callers original intentions versus the advice provided by the general practitioner (GP). In 2014, 13,600 medication-related calls were made to the national AGPH. For 86.56% of calls, GPs advised callers to either self-care only or self-care overnight and to see their GP during business hours. Of the 1442 calls where the caller had originally intended to visit the emergency department (ED), 76.70% were advised by GPs to self-care, and only 5.48% were advised to call 000 or visit an ED. Overall, less than 2.3% of callers were directed to the ED, despite 10.6% of people originally calling with this intention. The availability of an after-hours service potentially prevented 1363 people from unnecessarily attending an ED and directed 228 people who had originally underestimated the seriousness of their condition to an ED.