Illness and medical issues are always hard, especially so in a new country. Understanding the medical system in Australia means you will get the right heath care sooner.
General Practitioner (GP)
In Australia, a doctor is also known as a General Practitioner (GP). GPs are qualified doctors that treat a wide range of general issues, such as colds and flu, minor injuries, sexual health etc. When necessary a GP will refer you to a Specialist Doctor for further investigations or treatment for specific physical and mental conditions.
If you are feeling unwell or have a general medical issue that’s not an emergency, then a GP doctor should be your first point of contact.
Choosing a Doctor
Check your OSHC provider’s website for an approved doctor that is closest to you. If you choose a doctor with a direct billing relationship then all costs will be forwarded directly to your OSHC provider without the need to pay upfront.
Otherwise, do an online search for your closest medical clinic. Reading online reviews can help you make a decision on which doctor to choose.
You can request a female doctor if you prefer.
What to Bring to Your Appointment
– OSHC card
– Photo ID such as your student card.
– A list of medications you are currently taking.
– A list of vaccinations you have received in the past.
Is it an Emergency?
If you require emergency medical help you should dial Triple Zero 000 immediately for an ambulance, or make your way to the nearest Hospital Emergency Department.
An emergency is any medical problem that could cause death or permanent injury if not treated quickly.
Some examples of medical emergencies are:
- Chest pain accompanied by sweating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, radiating pain that moves to the arm or neck, dizziness, or feeling that your heart is beating irregularly or too fast
- Severe bleeding that doesn’t stop after 15 minutes of direct pressure
- Broken or displaced bones
- Swallowing poison
- Suddenly not being able to walk, speak, or move a portion of your body
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
If you are not suffering from a medical emergency but you do go to Hospital Emergency Department for treatment, you will usually have to wait a long time to see a doctor or even be sent away to attend your closest medical centre.