Keep your health on track

Watch out short video explaining why it’s so important to keep your health on track, even at a time like this.

How do you keep your health on track at a time like this?

Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your health and wellbeing on track.

Your GP and health services are still there for you, so there’s no need to put off or miss medical appointments, or ignore symptoms during isolation.

There are safe ways of getting all sorts of care, including:

  • consultations
  • vaccinations
  • prescriptions
  • and more.

You may be able to have a phone or video appointment, or even have your medicines delivered.

Face-to-face appointments will still be recommended in some cases, but they can be done safely. There are rules about social distancing (such as sitting a safe distance apart in the waiting room and during your consultation), and strict cleaning measures are also in place. You can do your bit by sticking to these rules, keeping your hands clean, and wearing a face mask if you’re asked to.

The best thing to do is just call your GP or usual health service and ask their advice. It’s important to phone first – don’t just show up.

If you don’t have a usual healthcare provider, you can search for one in this directory.

Your care team

Why does keeping my health on track matter?

Your health is important, and your GP and the rest of your care team are still there for you – even if things are done a bit differently at the moment.

Your care team might include your:

  • GP
  • nurse
  • Aboriginal health worker
  • pharmacist
  • psychologist
  • social worker
  • diabetes educator
  • dietitian
  • physiotherapist
  • or someone else who helps look after your health and wellbeing.

If you have a long-term health condition, it’s particularly important you don’t put off contacting your usual care provider if you’re due for a check-up, feeling sick, or have a flare-up that needs attention.

If you put off something that seems small now, you might end up with a bigger problem down the track.

Your mental health is also important.

Whether you have an ongoing mental illness or a new need for support – perhaps related to this pandemic – care is available for you.

Appointments

How can I still have appointments when I’m supposed to be staying at home?

It’s true that we’ve had to work around new rules and restrictions at various times this year, designed to minimise the spread of COVID-19. For some, it’s advised to stay home unless for specific reasons, such as seeking medical treatment.

If you’re not comfortable leaving home to attend a medical appointment, get in touch with your health service – they will be able to talk you through other options, including a catch-up on the phone, or a video consultation.

These options are what we call ‘telehealth’.

Telehealth

But what does telehealth really mean? Do I need a smartphone?

Telehealth really just means a health check-up that isn’t done in person, where you and your healthcare provider can talk over the phone or via video.

Important note: you don’t need a smartphone to be part of a medical appointment using telehealth — a good old-fashioned landline will do the trick for a phone consultation.

You also don’t need any special kind of computer program, or app for your phone.

Your healthcare provider may use the term to explain how to pay for your appointment, because the Australian Government has made changes to Medicare that mean appointments over the phone or by video can be bulk billed.

In fact, the Government has said GPs must bulk bill Commonwealth concession card holders, children under 16 years old, and people who are more vulnerable to coronavirus. This means there is no out-of-pocket cost for these people.

It’s important to remember that under these temporary new rules, it’s not just your GP who can offer bulk-billed appointments. Allied health professionals such as psychologists and physiotherapists can do it too.

So, in short:

  • telehealth doesn’t mean you need a fancy or high-tech device — a phone will do
  • if you’re not sure you’re comfortable leaving your home to go to a medical appointment, ask your health service for advice on what else they can do
  • don’t assume you can’t get your appointment bulk billed, just because it’s over the phone or via video.

Prescriptions

What about my prescriptions? Don’t I need to get them in person?

Not necessarily. The Australian Government has introduced new temporary rules to make it easier to get a new prescription, and your medicines.

If you’re not sure if they apply to you, get in touch with the person who usually writes your medicine prescription, or call your local pharmacist.

After-hours care

What if I need help after hours?

If you need to get medical advice but it’s the weekend or at night, don’t worry.

You can go to our Tas After Hours website.

The Tas After Hours website and app are initiatives of Primary Health Tasmania. They aim to provide Tasmanians with information about the range of medical services available after hours (at night time, on weekends and public holidays) and how to find them.

Health emergencies

What if it’s an emergency?

Always call 000 (triple zero) if there’s a medical emergency.

If you need to go to a hospital emergency department, strict measures are in place to keep people safe from coronavirus.