OSHCstudents – If you are sick or concerned you may have a health problem, visit a General Practitioner (GP) first.
In Australia a General Practitioner is a doctor who works in offices in the community, not in hospitals. They treat colds and flu’s, general health issues such as diabetes, and minor injuries.
When do I need to go to a doctor?
If you feel sick, with a bad cold or flu for example, or you need a general health check-up, the first person you should see is a General Practitioner or GP. In Australia, a GP is a doctor who works in an office or clinic in the community, not in a hosptial.
Please do not go to a Hospital Emergency Department unless you have a health emergency or your life is in immediate danger. Hospital emergency rooms often become full of people who want treatment for minor injuries, colds and headaches. This means you might wait several hours to see a doctor in an emergency room. In Australia, it is inappropriate to go to a Hospital Emergency Department unless you have a health emergency or your life is in immediate danger. You will still receive the care you need by visiting a GP. Doctors and nurses are placed under additional pressure when people seeking treatment for minor ailments go to hospital. This also threatens the lives of patients who are in genuine need of quick attention.
If you ARE in an emergency situation and you think you need an ambulance, phone Triple Zero (000) immediately.
Where can I find a GP?
GPs either work in a private doctor’s office or in a medical centre. At both places, the service you get from GPs is the same. Your doctor will be highly qualified, and will treat your case with complete confidentiality. But there are some small differences, and they are listed below.
|Private GP’s Office||Medical Centre|
|You need to book an appointment in advance, and you might not get to see a GP that same day.||Often, no appointment is necessary. You can walk into a medical centre at any time, put your name on the list and you will be called when a GP is available. This might be an hour or two.|
|You must pay to see the GP (costs vary).||GP services at a medical centre are often direct billed, so you don’t have to pay.|
|Each time you visit, you will be able to see the same GP. This means the GP will become familiar with your medical history.||Each time you visit, you might see a different GP. This means you will always need to explain your medical history.|
|Usually open during working hours only. Open Monday-Friday (except public holidays).||Usually open for extended hours every day. Very few medical centres are open on public holidays. If you are in an emergency, go to a hospital or call HealthDirect Australia for advice on 1800 022 222.|
As an international student, you can see any GP you like. However, you will save money and paperwork by going to a ‘direct billing’ GP.
If you need help to find a GP in your local area, telephone HealthDirect Australia on 1800 022 222 (free call from a landline telephone, charges may apply for mobile phone calls). You can also visit the National Health Services Directory website: http://www.nhsd.com.au/ or download their mobile phone app: http://www.nhsd.com.au/download-app
Another way to find a GP is to search under ‘Medical Practitioners’ in the Yellow Pages: www.yellowpages.com.au
Contact us for OSHC information:
Hotline: +61 2 8123 0900/+61 2 8123 0901
Emma (OSHCstudents) – According to SA Health