When to go to Emergency
Keep Emergency for emergencies
Last year, over 1 million Emergency department cases were not medical emergencies and could have been treated by a General Practitioner (GP) or pharmacy instead.
If you’re not sure if your medical condition requires emergency care, call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). Registered nurses are available 24 hours a day. They will advise you on what to do and if you need to go to a GP, pharmacy or Emergency department.
Visit the Health Services Directory to find GP clinics, pharmacies and other services near you.
In an emergency
Deciding whether to go to an Emergency department depends on the severity of your injury or illness.
If you need immediate medical care, call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. Once the paramedics arrive, they will decide on your care. This may include taking you to the nearest Emergency department or treating you at the scene. You may be asked to see your general practitioner for any follow-up treatment.
If it’s not an emergency, call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). Qualified nurses are available 24 hours a day. They will advise you on what to do and if you need to go to a GP, pharmacy or Emergency department.
When to visit a GP respiratory clinic
GP respiratory clinics can help with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms such as:
- shortness of breath
- sore throat and/or
Find out if there is a GP respiratory clinic in your area and how to make an appointment.
When to visit a GP
GPs can treat many conditions you might otherwise go to an Emergency department for, such as removing stitches, sprains and strains, bites and stings, viruses or infections, eye injuries, and prolonged illness or injury.
General conditions that can be seen by a GP:
- cold and flu symptoms
- open wounds, surgical dressings and sutures
- prolonged illness or injury
- eye injuries
- abdominal pain
- urinary tract infection
- sprain - existing
- acute respiratory infection, for example, pneumonia, bronchitis
- bites, rashes, skin infections
- severe headache
- wound infection
- medical certificate.
Some areas may have after-hours GP clinics or night GPs who come to your home. Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or search the health services directory to find out if there are any services close to you.
When to visit a Pharmacy
Pharmacies can help with conditions such as cold and flu symptoms, skin conditions and irritations, minor or mild allergy symptoms, headaches, diarrhea or constipation, or sleeping problems.
General conditions that can be seen by a pharmacist:
- skin conditions and irritations
- mild and minor allergy symptoms
- sleeping problems
- deep cuts.
Some areas may have late-night or 24-hour pharmacies. Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or search the health services directory to find out if there are any services close to you.