AMA backs call to take children to GP, not ED

14 Jul 2016

AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone has backed pleas from the Victorian Health Minister and the Royal Children’s Hospital for parents to take children with minor ailments to their GP, not the emergency department.

Dr Bartone told Melbourne radio 3AW GPs were well-placed to deal with such presentations during practice hours, but said he understood parents’ concerns, particularly after hours.

He said the Federal Government could take pressure off hospital emergency departments by reversing the freeze on Medicare rebates for GPs, allowing more GPs to bulk bill patients.

“For patients who are doing it tough, especially during winter periods, especially when they’ve got two or three kiddies all falling sick at the same time, cost is an issue,” Dr Bartone said.

“They may be voting with their wallets and going to the emergency departments because the cost of medicines and the cost of getting attention is prohibitive for them.”