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NURSE-ON-CALL

7-minute read

The NURSE-ON-CALL helpline provides Victorians health advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Queensland, this service is known as 13HEALTH. In all other states, it’s known as healthdirect.

NURSE-ON-CALL

Call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 * for immediate health advice from a registered nurse — available 24/7.

* Local call costs apply from anywhere in Victoria. Higher rates may apply for calls from mobiles.

When should I call NURSE-ON-CALL?

When you need caring, professional health advice around the clock, NURSE-ON-CALL can put you directly in touch with a registered nurse. You may need us when:

  • you or someone you’re caring for is feeling unwell
  • you’re not sure if you should seek medical help
  • you’re far from home or a long way from medical help
  • you want advice or information about health services in your area

What should I do in an emergency?

NURSE-ON-CALL is for non-emergency health advice only. If you think your situation is an emergency, you should always call triple zero (000) or go to a hospital emergency department.

What happens when I call NURSE-ON-CALL?

Step 1 — A registered nurse will answer your call and collect some basic information about you and the reason for your call.

Step 2 — The nurse will then ask you a series of questions about your symptoms and other issues relating to your health.

Step 3 — At the end of the call, the nurse may suggest ways you can care for yourself, advise you to contact a GP or, if your condition is very serious, transfer the call to triple zero (000). Nurses do not diagnose and cannot provide a diagnosis.

How can I get help to access NURSE-ON-CALL?

If English is not your main language and you need an interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450 and ask to be transferred to NURSE-ON-CALL.

Visit the Health Translations Victoria website for translated information about NURSE-ON-CALL in your language.

The National Relay Service is available to assist callers who are hearing or speech impaired.

For more information, see the Frequently asked questions section below.




Frequently asked questions


About NURSE-ON-CALL


What is NURSE-ON-CALL?

NURSE-ON-CALL is a telephone service that provides immediate, expert health advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is accessible from any landline or mobile phone in Victoria. Costs for a local call apply to landlines, although calls from mobile phones may be charged at a higher rate.

During after-hours periods, eligible callers may be offered a telephone or video call-back from a doctor.

How quickly will my call be answered?

NURSE-ON-CALL is committed to answering all calls as quickly as possible and aims to answer 80 per cent of all calls within 20 seconds. In an emergency, you should call triple zero (000).

Do I have to speak to a machine before I speak to a real nurse?

No. A pre-recorded message advises callers of their privacy rights when contacting NURSE-ON-CALL, but then calls are directly answered by a registered nurse. You may be provided with an option to find a health service using voice technology, but you can also speak to a nurse for this information if you prefer.

What happens if I’m calling about someone else?

If you are calling about another person, you must have the consent of that person (unless they are a minor). The person must also be with you and awake/conscious at the time of your call so the nurse can provide triage and specific care advice. Otherwise, the nurse can only give general information and direction.

What information will I be asked to provide and why?

The nurse will first ask you some questions to ensure you or the person you are calling about is safe and that an emergency response is not required. The nurse will then gather some basic personal details that will help them to provide you with the right health advice and care.

You can choose to remain anonymous. Just as when you see a health care professional, the information is collected in order to create your health record. This file will be used in the future to help the nurse understand your medical history if you use the NURSE-ON-CALL service again.

Why is the Government funding this service?

The Victorian Government, with support from the Commonwealth Government, funds NURSE-ON-CALL to ensure every Victorian has access to professional health advice anytime of the day or night. This service complements Victoria’s public hospitals and emergency services.

Who provides the NURSE-ON-CALL service?

NURSE-ON-CALL is provided by Healthdirect Australia on behalf of the Victorian Government.

What about other health help lines like the Poisons Line, Lifeline and Parentline?

These services operate in conjunction with NURSE-ON-CALL. If callers choose to seek advice from NURSE-ON-CALL, the service will refer to these other health services as necessary.


Accessibility


What happens if I need an interpreter to help with my call?

If English is not your main language and you need an interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450 and ask to be transferred to NURSE-ON-CALL.

How do I use the service if I have a hearing or speech impairment?

The National Relay Service is available to assist callers who are hearing or speech impaired. Voice Relay users should ring 1800 555 727 while Teletypewriter (TTY) users should ring 1800 555 677 and ask to be connected to NURSE-ON-CALL. Internet relay users access the helpline via the National Relay Service website.

Does the service operate on public holidays?

Yes. NURSE-ON-CALL operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including public holidays.


Our nurses


What training and experience do the nurses answering the calls have?

All calls are answered by registered nurses who have at least 2 years’ experience working in hospitals. In addition to clinical training, all NURSE-ON-CALL staff are fully trained to provide expert health advice, information and triage over the telephone. Nurses also undergo ongoing training and supervision to maintain high-quality clinical and communication skills.

Is the advice provided by NURSE-ON-CALL safe?

Yes, you can be confident that the advice given is safe. NURSE-ON-CALL staff are supported by state-of-the-art clinical advice that is constantly reviewed and updated to ensure information is accurate and clinically sound. At the end of your call, the nurse may offer to send the information to your mobile phone for future reference.

Is NURSE-ON-CALL able to write me a referral to a doctor or organise a priority appointment?

No. NURSE-ON-CALL cannot make appointments or write referrals. The nurse may suggest you see a GP or visit an emergency department, depending on your symptoms. The nurse does not provide a diagnosis but will be able to provide you details of your closest hospital or GP clinic. The nurse can also provide information on the nearest appropriate service to you, including opening hours.

Where does NURSE-ON-CALL access information about my local health services?

The nurse will refer to the National Health Services Directory to search and provide you with local health services that can help you with your particular needs.


Your privacy


Is my call confidential?

Yes. Any information you provide remains confidential and records are fully secure. The NURSE-ON-CALL service is governed by the laws of the State, including the Privacy Data and Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and Health Records Act 2001 (Vic), and of the Commonwealth of Australia, including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). See our privacy policy.

Can I remain anonymous if I call NURSE-ON-CALL?

Yes. The nurse will ask you for some basic personal details, but you may remain anonymous if you wish. All information provided remains confidential and records are fully secure. See our privacy policy.




Your feedback

We value your feedback — both positive and negative — about the NURSE-ON-CALL service. We are committed to improving Victorians’ access to the best health advice, and with your help we can make a good system even better. You can provide feedback by emailing us at feedback@healthdirect.org.au.

Read more about how to provide feedback.


Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: June 2021


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