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Western Victoria Primary Health Network is conducting an After Hours campaign to inform and educate residents and visitors to western Victoria on options for after-hours medical assistance. This campaign will encourage individuals to contact their general practitioner in the first instance, then the GP helpline/symptom checker and then the 000 in case of emergency.

Promotion of the After Hours ‘three option’ choices provides a quick reference for anyone who has a health concern and is unsure about what to do. Following options one or two may save you from waiting in the Emergency Room or having to drive long distances to your nearest hospital during the night, on weekends or public holidays (unless it is required).

If your local general practitioner is closed or unavailable, medical advice is available via the afterhours GP helpline. This service will provide you with trusted health advice and will notify your doctor of the outcome of your call, keeping them up to date with your results and ensuring they are able to follow up on your case and provide ongoing care.

Step 1
If you are unwell and need medical attention call your GP or Clinic. If they are closed or unavailable go to step 2.

Step 2
Call the GP helpline on 1800 022 222 for medical advice and support.

Step 3
If it is an emergency call 000.

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Make the right call to get the right care

Western Victoria Primary Health Network data suggests that there is an on-going and increasing demand for people seeking medical assistance and a proportion of this will be after hours.

Statistics indicate that in Western Victoria only 44 per cent of general practices provide 24/7 care. It was also recognised that these practices are stretched and an after-hours range of options would assist individuals in accessing the right care.

According to 2012-13 figures, diabetes complications represented 42% of all hospital admissions in Western Victoria Primary Health Network's catchment. The highest rate of type 2 diabetes is in the Golden Plains Shire (5.6%), followed by the City of Greater Geelong (4.8%), compared to the Victorian average (4.8%).

Whilst Western Victoria Primary Health Network data also shows that the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) within our region is above the national average.

Like the rest of Australia, Western Victoria has an ageing population and the health needs of this demographic will increase, which will place increasing strain on existing, on the ground, health services.

Detailed needs assessment across Western Victoria has determined the health priorities of the region are diabetes and its complications, COPD and cardiovascular diseases, along with the national priorities of mental health, Indigenous health, alcohol and other drugs and aged care.