After hours doctors visit 700 homes over Christmas weekend
AFTER hours doctors on the Fraser Coast have been smashed with thousands of home visit requests as GP clinics close their doors for the Christmas holidays.
House Call Doctor was left to pick up the slack and was called to 500 homes in Hervey Bay and 200 in Maryborough over the Christmas to Boxing Day weekend, four times more patients than expected.
House Call Doctor Chief Executive Officer Wayne Ormond said the business had been hit with a "triple whammy".
"A lot of GPs have chosen to take time off for Christmas, so a lot of day clinics were closed for the holidays," Mr Ormond said.
"There seems to be more summer flu and tummy bugs around this year, and with other after hours services going out of business, our work load has been absolutely phenomenal."
State Field Operations and Training Manager Craig Glover has been working 20 hour shifts, trying to find enough doctors to cover the region.
"It's been really full on," Craig said.
"We were prepared for it to be busy but we didn't have any warning about how many doctors would be away."
The Maryborough after hours service, run by the JEMA medical clinic, stopped operations on November 23 after a number of doctors took up offers in other areas.
JEMA clinic human resources advisor Eric Siefken told the Chronicle the closure was "hopefully only temporary", as the business was in the process of looking for replacement doctors to reopen the after-hours service.
"It was left down to one doctor who had to do it all, it was a strong disappointment for the owners who tried to do this for the community, it was a disappointment, but it was up to the doctors to leave," Eric said.
"Getting a doctor is not as easy as calling up any GP, you need doctors trained and developed for this type of work."