Bundaberg pharmacy tackling GP shortage

doctors on demand
Pharmacist Tanya Bowden at Bundaberg Discount Drug Store is ready with a prescription through Doctors on Demand.

Bundaberg Discount Drug Store is hoping to help alleviate general practitioner (GP) waiting times for sick residents by signing on to the Doctors on Demand online consultation service.

Through the Sigma Healthcare InClinic service the pharmacy can offer patients secure and private access to the Doctors on Demand online platform in a professional consulting suite.

The secure and private video consultation is undertaken by an Australian registered doctor providing advice with an option of sending prescriptions immediately to the participating pharmacy, or another pharmacy of the patient’s choice.

Bundaberg Discount Drug Store pharmacist Tanya Bowden said the online GP service would support local doctors.

“We hear every day from our customers that the wait times just to get in to see a doctor are getting longer and longer, not to mention that some doctors aren’t taking new patients,” Tanya said.

“We expect that the InClinic service will help alleviate some of the pressure our local doctors are facing, while ensuring the patients continuity of care with their MyHealth medical records.”

Fellow Bundaberg Discount Drug Store pharmacist Brenton Veurman said he was not aware of any other chemists in the region offering the service.

“It is only very new that it's being able to be accessed through pharmacies,” Brenton said.

“We were approached to see if we’d like to be one of the first to access it.”

He said the store was pleased to be able to offer an alternative to unwell Bundaberg Region residents who were not able to book an appointment with their regular GP in a timely manner.

“There are two options, they can order a prescription; a service if their regular GP has already started them on a medication.

“Once it’s been initiated if they run out of repeats and they need to get a refill then they can access that without talking to a doctor directly.

“If the medication that they require is not on that preassigned list then they are able to have a 15-minute telehealth consult with a doctor.

“The script is then emailed to a pharmacy of their choosing.”

Pharmacies across Australia register for Doctors on Demand

The InClinic online GP service has launched with more than 25 pharmacies across Australia where the local community has limited access to regular GP healthcare services.

The telehealth service offers consults with Australian registered doctors via a secure, encrypted online platform, with doctors able to access a patient’s My Health medical records with their permission, allowing for continuity of care with a patient’s regular GP.

Doctors on Demand CEO Kirsty Garrett said the new InClinic service initiative with Sigma Healthcare would benefit the healthcare of communities across Australia.

“We know that patients are demanding more convenient access to healthcare in their chosen care setting,” Kirsty said.

“At the same time, access to GPs remains a challenge for patients in rural and regional Australia.

“Pharmacists are now able to provide their patients with access to quality GP services from their very own consultation rooms.”

There are three levels of service available, ranging from $25 for a quick script approval, $60 for a full video consultation during regular business hours (8am to 6pm, seven days a week) and $90 for an after-hours full video consultation with a qualified doctor.