An after hours GP clinic has been taking pressure off Bunbury Hospital and cutting waiting times for nearly two years, but now needs more doctors to cater for booming patient numbers.
Bunbury After Hours GP Clinic medical director Dr Brenda Murrison said the clinic was not able to expand to cater for more people unless more doctors signed on to help.
Dr Murrison said she believed the clinic ‘‘directly affected’’ the hospital.
‘‘We’re seeing a lot of triage four and five (low priority) patients that should never be seen in hospital ... but these are also people that cannot be seen in the morning,’’ she said.
‘‘I think this takes a lot of pressure off the emergency department and time off their waiting room.’’
The clinic is run by 16 doctors who each work four hour shifts with only one doctor serving patients at a time.
On Sunday the clinic saw about 50 people over the eight hours it was open, which is 25 per cent more than average.
Dr Murrison said there had been times when the clinic had to close its doors on patients who had not been treated.
‘‘We would definitely like to expand,’’ she said.
‘‘The first thing would be to change opening hours on Sundays to 9am to 9pm.’’
The hospital has made a second room available to the clinic for when it gets enough doctors to expand.
Dr Murrison said while patient numbers had grown the clinic could not expand without more doctors joining the clinic.
‘‘The numbers have generally built but it really can be a feast or a famine on each day,’’ she said.
‘‘If the numbers stay like this we will have to put on a second doctor but we really need more doctors to sign on.
‘‘We’re always looking for qualified GPs to help out and would gratefully accept any offers.’’
Dr Murrison said it was important that the service continued to run.
‘‘It takes pressure off the emergency department and provides a valuable service to the area,’’ she said.
``Patients who previously wouldn’t have felt good about going to the hospital with a sore throat now happily come see us and get relief that night.’’
For more information or to inquire about a position visit www.bunburyafterhrsgp.com.au.