MEDICAL practices across Perth have signed up for a service that allows patients to book last-minute appointments online.
GP After Hours Bentley was among the first practices registered on an appointment-booking website launched on February 14.
HealthEngine.com.au medical director Marcus Tan said the website allowed people to book appointments at short notice, for up to a week, at the nearest available practice.
“It’s a dynamic system – the practices adjust it according to what they receive on the phone,” he said.
“It’s a free service to the patients and we only charge the practices if they get a booking.”
Dr Tan said he found people were using the service mainly when they urgently needed to see a doctor, and it would ease the pressure on hospitals.
“We know that in some busy surgeries, it can take days to get in to see a GP and the hospital system often ends up looking after children who could be treated more quickly and easily by a suburban doctor,” he said.
Dr Tan said the service also had an iPhone application that patients could use to locate the nearest practice and book an appointment, which would be useful if they were injured or sick while away from home.
The service has only just been launched in WA, but Dr Tan said it would be rolled out across Australia, with the website already containing a directory of 50,000 medical professionals nationally.