Do After Hours GPs Do Home Visits?

Do After Hours GPs Do Home Visits?

Do doctors still make home visits?

In the past, GPs used to do house calls for their sick patients. Although it is much less common for a patient’s regular general practitioner to attend for a home visit, there are a network of doctors in Australia that continue to provide home visits.

Unlike in other countries, GPs in Australia are not required to visit their sick patients if they fall unwell after hours. Consequently, most general practitioners choose not to work in the after-hours period. As a result, locum companies exist to fill this gap and these companies account for the majority of home visit doctor services.

What is an after-hours GP?

There are two main types of after-hours GP:

Lots of after-hours GPs are home visit doctors as many clinics are too expensive to run in the quieter after-hours period. Most after-hours GP clinics are closed by 10 pm and in many cases earlier.

Some after-hours GP services operate throughout the entirety of the after-hours period including on weekends and on public holidays. So, for non-life threatening medical problems, you may have an alternative option for visiting the Emergency Department, especially if you live in a metropolitan area.


How is an after-hours doctor different from a regular GP?

Regular general practitioners are the main caregivers for patients in the community and look after a range of acute and chronic medical conditions. After-hours doctors provide care for patients that have an illness that cannot wait to be reviewed by a regular general practitioner. This might be because their condition might deteriorate if they wait, or because the regular is booked out for many days leading to a delay.

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After Hours GPs do not look after life-threatening illnesses such as heart attacks or strokes. Patients with life-threatening conditions must attend their nearest Emergency Department or call for an ambulance.

regular GP

Do after hours GPs visit hotels?

Yes, most house call GPs will also attend hotels. For patients with Medicare cover, the fees are normally the same as if they were being visited at their house. After hours GPs charge private fees for overseas patients. Staff in the hotel are likely to know which services undertake hotel visits, so it is worth asking them for recommendations if you are staying in a hotel and are unwell.

Is a home doctor bulk billed?

Some home doctor services are bulk billed whereas others are private requiring the patient to pay a gap.

Some private after hours gp services promise to provide a higher quality service such as:

  • Shorter waiting times
  • Longer consultation times
  • Ability to perform more medical investigations
  • More experienced doctors
  • Pre-visit assessments over the phone by the visiting doctor

How do I book?

How you book depends on the service you are using. Services offer some of or all of the following options:

  • Over the phone
  • Through a smart-phone app
  • Online booking through a web-browser
  • Via a health online booking portal (e.g. Health Engine)
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