With the borders open again and the cold snap we are currently experiencing, there has been no better time to head north. However, spare a thought for the medical practices and services across the top of Australia. They too are experiencing unprecedented demand, with many practices not accepting new patients, and many pharmacies running low on medication stocks. Fortunately with most practices able to offer telehealth appointments and escripts to their usual patients, with a little forward planning, we are hoping to reduce the strain on them.
You will need to have been to see us within 12 months to ensure you remain eligible to claim your Medicare rebate for telephone and video consultations. And there is a checklist of jobs we can work through while we are seeing you!
Make sure you are up to date with your flu and COVID vaccinations. Numbers remain high through the whole of Australia and medical facilities are struggling under the burden of the disease. It may also be worth discussing a COVID plan with your GP, so you know what to do in the event of a positive COVID result and whether you are eligible for antiviral medication. Be aware, it may be difficult to source them while you are away. It is also important to travel with a supply of RAT tests, but remember, if you develop symptoms, a PCR may be preferred.
Having an up to date health summary uploaded to your My Health Record will allow emergency medical teams provide the best care if you do need to receive emergency care in a hospital. It is also worth carrying a paper version, up to date care plans and any relevant, up to date letters from your specialists.
Try to make sure you travel with enough medication for the whole trip. But be mindful some medication needs to be kept in certain conditions to ensure they don’t degrade and become ineffective. If you need wounds dressed, make sure you travel with some fresh dressings too. If you need access to strong pain killers, try to get enough from your usual GP. Most GPs will not prescribe these medications to patients they don’t know, but if you do need a prescription for them while you are away, it will help if you are carrying documentation to support the request.
Try and make sure you have more than one person travelling who can drive your vehicle, including with trailer or van.
And finally, don’t forget to send us a postcard! Keep safe and have fun!