Six-month milestone for Bribie Island's after-hours GP pilot

July 06, 2023

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A pilot program co-designed by Brisbane North PHN offering after-hours primary care services to residents of Bribie Island has surpassed its six-month milestone.

Bribie Doctors Banksia Beach was selected to commence the clinic last October after a need was identified to extend access to GPs after-hours in the region where over forty per cent of the population is over the age of 65.

The clinic operates from Monday to Wednesday, 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm, offering bulk billed access to primary care for people who present with acute illnesses, minor accidents or urgent medical concerns. Bulk-billed appointments for children under the age of 16 and pension, healthcare and DVA gold card holders can also be booked in advance. Unlike other after-hours care providers in the region, anyone from the wider community – not just existing practice patients – can access the service.

“There is a high demand for doctors on the island, even during the day – the added benefit of the scope of our clinic is that we can provide out-of-hours appointments for patients who might not have been able to get in to see their own GP at any other time,” said Rebecca Langfeldt, Bribie Doctors Banksia Beach Practice Manager.

The clinic has already seen 280 patients in the first quarter of 2023, and is averaging 6 presentations per evening.

Typical presentations at the clinic since its establishment include respiratory illness, minor burns and cuts requiring sutures, and children who become unwell during the evening – right through to more acute cases of chest pain.

Over the course of the pilot, Bribie Doctors Banksia Beach have been able to broaden the scope of care they can provide during the after-hours period to bring it in line with services available in-practice during the day. This includes: adapting and expanding the capacity of their treatment room, increasing their provision of emergency medicines and antibiotics (usually only available in pharmacy), increasing the ability of practice nurses to effectively triage patients, and engaging clinic staff in further training and education.

These interventions have allowed the clinic to successfully treat patients who may have ordinarily had to present to nearby hospital emergency departments (EDs). On two occasions where patients still needed to be triaged to hospital (less than 1 per cent of Banksia Beach clinic’s total presentations across the pilot period), clinicians were able to begin treatment, make direct contact with specialists and prevent those patients from a lengthy wait in the ED.

Bribie Doctors have been able to offer an invaluable community service in the interim period while the Caboolture Satellite Hospital, encompassing a Minor Accident and Injuries Clinic, is built and established. The Satellite Hospital will open this August, with the Bribie Island after-hours pilot funded until the end of 2023.

“Dr Vaid (Bribie Doctors’ primary General Practitioner) is very committed to this community, and it’s been meaningful for all of our doctors to be able to fill that gap, and to be able to offer residents a service that has been in high demand, and much needed, for a long time,” said Ms Langfeldt.

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