Gary lives in Bunbury with his partner Shanae and their one year-old son, Ruben. Late one Sunday night, Gary was struck down with a bad case of food poisoning. By speaking to the after hours GP helpline, Gary was saved a trip to the emergency department and reassured his issue was manageable at home.
“We went to a bakery in the afternoon, and I had a chicken pie,” he said. “Later we had dinner, and unfortunately I brought my dinner back up again. It was about midnight, and because it was so late there were no GPs open so I rang healthdirect. I didn’t want to be one of those people who goes to the hospital and takes up time at the emergency department – they’ve got more important things to deal with than me eating a dodgy chicken pie.”
Gary was immediately put at ease by the professionalism of the nurse, and didn’t feel embarrassed when explaining his symptoms.
“The nurse was fantastic. I could be open and honest with her about what was happening, and she was very professional and very calm. It was really nice to have somebody like that on the end of the phone. The nurse thought I should also speak with a GP, and they called back in less than 15 minutes – I was impressed it was so quick,” he said.
“The worst thing I normally find with a call back from any service is the lack of information transfer, but the GP knew what information I’d given the nurse, and he asked me a few more questions to check exactly what was happening. I didn’t have to go through the ordeal of telling the whole story again. He explained to me what I needed to do to stay hydrated, and advised me to stay off work for 24 hours. That was useful because it was a Sunday night, and to be able to call my boss and say ‘I’ve rung healthdirect, and they recommend I don’t come in today’ gives me the reassurance that I’m doing the right thing by not going to work, and reassures my boss too.”
One thing Gary really appreciated was the willingness of the nurse and the GP to spend time on the phone to assess and understand his situation.
“When you go to emergency, you wonder if you’re wasting everyone’s time by being there, and if you should go home and take a few Panadol. With this service, it was great to speak with someone who knew what they were talking about and was happy to spend the time talking to me, and I wasn’t stopping someone with more important problems being seen,” he said.
Gary has taken to social media to spread the word about healthdirect and the after hours GP helpline.
“Now that I’ve personally used it, not only will I tell friends and family, but with our one-year-old it’s great knowing that if something happens to him in the middle of the night, we have that support,” he said. “I even did a Facebook status update saying how wonderful it is. It’s a brilliant service.”
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IMPORTANT: This is a personal story and testimonial. It is for general information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.
Last reviewed: January 2018