"Phone your GP day or night for healthcare advice” is the message going out to Western Bay residents with the launch of a new nurse telephone triage service.
Introduced this week, the service will answer after-hours calls for all 30 Western Bay GP practices.
Nga Kakano Foundation GP Dr Joe Bourne says it will help people get effective advice any time of the day or night.
“It’s very simple: for medical advice you need only remember the phone number of the GP practice you are registered with. Phone your GP 24/7.
“If the call is after-hours it will be automatically redirected to the triage service, where a qualified nurse will discuss your treatment options and point you in the right direction for the care you need.”
If the issue is a medical emergency, the nurse will connect patients with an ambulance, and Joe says the 24/7 availability will instantaneously connect people with expert advice – saving time, and potentially money.
“You could save yourself a long wait in the emergency department, for an issue which could be treated at the pharmacy or physiotherapist.
“And if it’s a simple case of buying medicine over-the-counter, this could save you the cost of a consultation. The nurse will be able to give you this advice over the phone.
“So, if you’re sick, save time and money; phone your GP first.”
The service is a Western Bay Primary Health Organisation, Nga Mataapuna Oranga, and Bay of Plenty District Health Board joint initiative.