New After Hours Doctor Advertising Campaign Backs Importance Of General Practice

New After Hours Doctor Advertising Campaign Backs Importance Of General Practice

A new advertising campaign by National Home Doctor Service aims to educate the general public about the service and reinforce the importance of General Practice.

National Home Doctor Service is the largest after hours doctor service in Australia, with over 700 doctors attending to over one million patients every year. People requiring medical attention after 6pm weeknights, 12 noon on Saturdays, all day Sundays and public holidays can contact National Home Doctor via 13SICK to arrange a home visit. The service bulk bills all patients with a Medicare or Gold DVA card.

The advertising campaign, created by Cummins&Partners, describes why thousands of GPs recommend National Home Doctor Service and how the provider integrates with General Practice. The TV commercials feature practicing GPs who explain that National Home Doctor Service is available at times when most GPs are closed.

The advertising campaign is in response to research that shows only 31 per cent of the general public is aware of after-hours doctor services.

Ben Keneally, CEO of National Home Doctor Service, said, “A patient with an urgent medical condition outside normal GP surgery hours needs to be aware of the after-hours services available to them. As the largest provider in Australia we have a responsibility to educate the general public about after-hours doctor services and where we fit within primary care.”

Doctors from the after hours service overwhelmingly attend to children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups. The service works closely with General Practice, sending clinical reports on all patients seen to the regular GP.

Ben Keneally continued, “We complement General Practice by providing a high quality service to assist patients with urgent illnesses outside normal hours while ensuring continuity of care. Our triage protocols ensure patients with emergency conditions are advised to call 000 or go to the Emergency Department. Callers with routine matters are referred back to their GP.”

Adam Ferrier, consumer psychologist at Cummins&Partners, who look after both media and creative for National Home Doctor Service, said, “The National Home Doctor Service is an exceptional product – a doctor will come to your house after hours to treat you, and it’s bulk billed!

“With a product as good as this it’s very easy to try and be overly creative, or let the advertising get in the way of the product.  We’ve told this amazing product story as simply and clearly as possible.”

In addition to supporting GP surgeries, a wide range of studies suggest that greater use of primary care has the potential to ease pressure on emergency departments. The Productivity Commission has identified that there are 2.2 million GP-type presentations to Emergency Departments (ED) annually and that 24 per cent of all ED patients believe their care could have been carried out by a GP1. Another study2 found that 26 per cent of emergency department visits were due to a lack of alternative care.

The advertising campaign by National Home Doctor Service will appear in all major states and cities from 28 February across TV, radio, print, online and in outdoor locations.

i. Report on Government Services. Chapter 10. Tables 10.16 and 10.17
ii. Fitzgerald G, Toloo G, Aitken, P, Keijzers G, Scuffham P (2015) Public use and perceptions of emergency departments: A population survey. Emergency Medicine Australasia. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.12420

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