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Industry Research : South Australians Making Good Use of the National Health Hotline
More South Australians - especially women - are seeking advice from the national health hotline, figures reveal.
According to healthdirect Australia data, more than 9000 South Australians call for free help each month up 8 per cent on about 8340 each month for the same period last year.
Women made 63 per cent of calls, usually on behalf of family members. More than a quarter of calls between April and June this year were about children under four years of age.
Health Minister John Hill said the healthdirect Australia hotline showed the importance of this service in providing after-hours support.
"The most common inquiry in April-June 2012 related to medication (1055), followed by abdominal pain (833), chest pain (774) and children's vomiting (707)," Mr Hill said.
"Seventeen per cent of calls come from rural and remote areas." And a third of calls to the service about 3000 were received on weekends. An average of about 8550 calls per month were resolved.
"Most people who phone the helpline are advised to see a doctor within 24 hours or to undertake self care at home," Mr Hill said.
"People may also be advised to attend a hospital emergency department or in less than 5 per cent of cases nation-wide the nurse will activate a 000 emergency call."
Mother of three Lauren Johnston, 28, of Morphett Vale, said she had found the hotline invaluable.
"I've called them quite a few times for things like chesty coughs," Miss Johnston said.
"It's just handy to get reassurance about whether it's necessary to see a doctor straight away."
She estimated she had called the hotline about 15 times for issues relating to her sons Dylan, 4, Oliver, 3, and Mitchell, 2, and once when she found it difficult to breathe.
To call the hotline dial 1800 022 222 from anywhere in Australia. sPeople with speech or hearing impediments should dial the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677, and those requiring interpreter services should call TIS National on 131 450.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, September 17, 2012