‘Poor health doesn’t take a holiday’ – that’s the key message of a new campaign developed by COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN to encourage people to be prepared for the summer holiday period. This comes off the back of a survey by South Eastern NSW PHN’s Consumer Health Panel which found that almost 65% of respondents said that they or one of their family members has needed to access health care during a previous summer holiday period. For two-thirds of people, this was an unexpected visit. Dianne Kitcher, CEO of the South Eastern NSW PHN, said the findings highlight that it is important for people to make preparations now, in order to manage their health care these holidays. “It could be as simple as checking that you have enough medication or medical equipment supplies available, or that you have adequate repeat prescription to cover the holiday period,” said Ms Kitcher. “It is also recommended that you restock your first aid kit, have your health action plan handy, and make a list of important health phone numbers.” Ms Kitcher added that people should keep in mind there are plenty of health care options for unexpected medical issues which don’t involve a trip to the hospital emergency department. “These include your GP or nearest general practice, pharmacies, or medical advice and support from the after hours GP helpline – 1800 022 222,” said Ms Kitcher. All of these tips have been included in a new holiday checklist developed by the PHN, available at www.holidayhealthadvice.info. “If you do present to emergency, keep in mind that emergency departments are very busy places, especially with the influx of tourists to our region over summer. You might arrive to find a full waiting room and be subject to a long wait,” said Ms Kitcher. “So if you or someone you know is unwell over the holidays, ask yourself, ‘Is my urgency an emergency’? For life-threatening emergencies, always call 000. For non-emergencies, people can seek advice via the Healthdirect symptom checker, local pharmacist or the after hours GP Helpline.”
You can read the full report on ‘What our Panel said about managing health care over the holidays… November 2019’ here. Community members are encouraged to join in the discussion by signing up to the Consumer Health Panel today at www.coordinare.org.au/consumerhealthpanel. The Consumer Health Panel is an initiative of COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN and is supported by funding from the Australian Government through the PHN Program.