The decision as to whether a doctor will review a respiratory case in-person during the pandemic is a decision for the individual doctor.
Prior to being booked for a consultation at Night Doctor, you will be asked a series of quick questions to determine if you have any symptoms that could represent a COVID-19 infection.
Depending on the doctor who is working the shift, a decision will be made as to whether a home visit can be offered; this decision is based on the responses to the questions being asked, as well as the doctor’s booking preferences.
Currently, the majority of our doctors are able to review respiratory cases in-person. However a couple of our doctors are not able to review patients with symptoms that might represent a COVID infection, as doing so would pose a very serious threat to their health.
We are very grateful for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. If you are making a request for a home visit or Telehealth on a shift where our doctor cannot attend, you have several options:
Night Doctor provides home visits after hours.
We are a Western Australian company passionate about providing exceptional care and customer service to patients when their GP is not available.
You can see a full list of suburbs that we service to learn if we service your area.
Please see our fees to learn if there will be a charge for your visit.
Our doctors provide home visits during the Medicare after hours period which is defined as:
Due to Medicare billing restrictions we are unable to provide home visits outside of the defined after hours period. In normal hours you should visit your regular GP.
Simply call our friendly reception team and they will take your personal details and ask about your medical problem(s).
We can review up to two patients per household. If you wish to book in an additional patient, please call us to book them in before the doctor arrives.
We can visit you for urgent medical problems when you can’t get in to see your regular GP but are well enough not to need to go to the Emergency Department. We are not a replacement for your regular GP and they are still responsible for your ongoing care. We do not manage your regular medical issues such as your blood pressure, cholesterol or other non-urgent problems. If a problem requires ongoing follow up after our visit, we will refer you back to your GP.
WE ARE NOT AN EMERGENCY SERVICE. IF THERE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY YOU NEED TO ATTEND YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OR CALL 000 FOR AN AMBULANCE.
Examples of medical problems we CANNOT assist with include:
While all of our doctors are trained in Emergency Medicine we simply cannot provide Emergency care in your home. In some cases, in order for you to get the best care, we will refer you to the Emergency Department. We will always provide you or the ambulance officers with a letter of referral so that the emergency staff understand our concerns and why we felt it necessary to refer you in.
GPs provide a much greater range of services than after hours home visit services and are primarily responsible for patient care in the community. After hours home visit services work in partnership with GPs to look after their patients when the GP is not available, or the patient is unable to visit the GP. Patients should prioritise seeing their GP if it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Night Doctor reviews:
GPs provide a much broader range of services than after hours home visit services. New government regulations (as of 1st March 2018) ensure that home visit services are not providing services outside of their scope of practice.
Our doctors are not permitted to undertake the following management, procedures or certifications:
Night Doctor is an after hours home visit service. We are not a replacement for a GP practice and we encourage patients to see their GP whenever possible. Our service has two main aims: to help divert patients from the Emergency Department (ED) when it is safe to do so, and to provide exceptional care and customer service to patients when their regular GP is not available.
Some of our doctors are GPs and others work in the local hospitals. All our non-GP doctors must have recent paediatric and emergency experience and must be approved by the government and Medicare before working with us. We always have a GP on call to offer support and discuss complicated cases.
You will be sent a text message (or receive a call if you have no mobile phone) within 40 minutes of booking to inform you of your doctor’s Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA).
We aim for our patients to be seen within 1-2 hours of booking. Unfortunately, there are periods of unexpected high demand when this will not always be possible.
We hope that you understand that we are regularly presented with unexpected emergencies or complicated cases which may require ambulance transfer, palliative care or an extra-long consultation. These consultations cannot be rushed and do sometimes cause delays.
We will keep you informed of any potential delays by text message (or call if you have no mobile phone). If you feel that your condition is particularly urgent and cannot wait up to 4 hours then we recommend you attend your local Emergency Department.
Our doctors call all patients before attending, to check on their condition. If our call centre staff are concerned that your problem may be something we do not routinely see or something that cannot wait they will contact the doctor immediately for their advice. Sometimes, for your safety, the doctor will recommend you call an ambulance or attend the emergency department.
To make the visit as efficient as possible and to reduce waiting times we ask that prior to our arrival, you ensure:
If you do not have your Medicare card and we are unable to confirm your Medicare number electronically you will be required to make payment before your doctor undertakes a review and then you will have to claim your refund back from Medicare.
If your doctor believes that investigations are required to best manage your condition, they can request:
You may be referred to the Emergency Department if urgent investigations are needed. We do not undertake non-urgent investigations; for these, you should see your GP.
All pathology samples that can be collected at the time of your visit are sent by us to pathology for testing and you will not be charged for these.
For samples that we do not collect in the visit, or for any radiology investigations, you must discuss the cost with the provider you choose.
If we order tests it is essential that we are able to communicate any abnormal results to you. We appreciate your assistance with this.
Our doctors can provide you with a script if they need to prescribe you medications. They also carry some medications to allow treatment to be started if the pharmacy is closed or if you are unable to get to the pharmacy. However, they cannot provide you with the entire course of treatment.
We DO NOT prescribe or supply:
In certain cases we can administer (but not prescribe or supply) some of these medications, but only if we have written authority from your GP or Pain Specialist. Authority must be organised in advance by your GP and they must speak with our Doctors directly. Administering these medications is up to the doctor’s discretion and there are no exceptions to this policy.
Our doctors can provide you with a medical certificate if it is indicated. However, we are not a sick note service. For us to attend for a home visit, you must have a medical problem that requires assessment which cannot wait to be reviewed by your GP.
As an Approved Medical Deputising Service, we are restricted from providing certain services to patients which are considered by the government as better dealt with by a patient's regular GP. This includes providing certification services. Therefore we are not allowed to conduct home visits to review patients who are well and only requiring a medical certificate or a return to work/daycare/school certificate.
After the visit:
All of our staff adhere to a strict confidentiality policy.
If you prefer that the doctor’s assistant is not present for your review please let us know and the doctor can see you in a private area of your home. Please note the assistant will still be nearby, within earshot for safety reasons.
Your medical notes and other private information are either faxed or encrypted and transferred electronically via a secure service.
Night Doctor can provide translation services through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) if a patient does not speak English to a level that allows them to communicate with the doctor. Please advise us ahead of time if this service is required.
Assistance can also be provided to hearing impaired patients through the National Relay Service. Please provide advance notice if these services are required.
We strive to provide the highest quality of care that we can, and we constantly audit our performance and review our processes. To help us better serve our patients, your feedback is invaluable. We want to hear about your experiences, either positive or negative.
You will be sent a brief feedback survey to the email address you provided at booking, after your visit is completed. We would appreciate just a couple of minutes of your time completing this.
Alternatively, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and our manager will get in touch. Please do not send sensitive patient information via email as it is not secure. Simply advise us that you would like to discuss your matter and we will contact you.
If you have made a complaint and are not satisfied with our response you are entitled to make a formal complaint to the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office via their website or by calling (08) 6551 7600.
Yes. You will be charged $160 and you will not be able to claim any of the money back from Medicare. You will not be able to use our service again until the bill has been paid.
To make a booking, please call 1300 644 483 during our hours of operation.
If you have any clinical questions immediately following your visit your doctor may be available to speak to. Please contact 1300 644 483 to see if your doctor is still available. For all other clinical questions, you should follow-up with your GP or attend the Emergency Department if your condition is life-threatening.
If you have any non-clinical questions following your Night Doctor visit, you have several options available to you: