The middle ground between ED and GP

4 minute read

Dr Jonny Levy spent most of his life as an emergency doctor but wanted a change of lifestyle (Sponsored)


Dr Jonny Levy spent most of his life as an emergency doctor but wanted a change in lifestyle so  became a GP. But something was still missing from his working medical life. In the second of our sponsored series on after hours doctor stories, Dr Levy tells us here what he did about it


Name: Dr Jonny Levy
Age: 40
Current Status: GP Fellow , MBBS BSc FRACGP, FARGP
Daytime:  Practice in skin cancer
After Hours: Used to do lots of shifts. He has no time these days but helps as an MD
Status: Contracts to NHDS as a medical director History:

  • Qualified as a doctor and worked in the UK for four years mainly in A&E
  • Migrated to Australia in 2005 with his wife and eldest son
  • Spent six years working in ED in Australia
  • Decided he needed a change of lifestyle so did his fellowship and settled as a GP and now has four kids (ponders whether staying in ED would have been an effective contraceptive)

Dr Levy started his interview by asking to go off the record so he could explain how frustrated he was at the whole after hours debate. He is keen to point out that NHDS, which as the largest and fastest growing national after hours group is actually 41 years old.

He’s proud of the service that after hours provides, and seems open and responsive to fair criticism by colleagues and patients. But he suspects that what really goes on in after hours groups is getting lost in translation.

“It just feels a lot like a vocal minority, the same people with the same arguments. It’s very frustrating if you’re doing the work and people are commentating from the outside without actual first-hand knowledge,” he says.

“You have to do it to understand it.”

Dr Levy says he transitioned reasonably quickly from the higher adrenalin ED environment to a suburban GP practice. He says he loves being a GP, but not long into his GP training found himself restless.

“I guess there was a gap of excitement and the lure of the unknown that I missed from ED work”.

After talking this through with one of the original owners at MMLS (now NHDS), he decided to give after hours a try.

The caseload was hugely varied. “Our remit is urgent, not emergent, but we do see unanticipated emergencies on occasion – which we manage appropriately. After hours fills an important gap between urgent care and emergent care. A midway point between ED and GPs.”

Regarding the controversy over billing urgent versus non urgent items, Dr Levy says  “Patients often don’t know whether something is truly urgent or routine. And we don’t until we get there either. We try hard to safely triage, but – as worldwide telephone-based triage has repeatedly found – it often needs a physical examination to determine whether something is routine, urgent or an outright emergency.”

“I’m a taxpayer. I don’t want money wasted. Saying it’s ‘big business gaming the system’ isn’t right.”

“Quality wins out in the end,” he says. “If we provide a good enough service we will survive and thrive and I’m sure a service like ours will. It fills a need and it does it well.”

If you are interested in joining the NHDS team you can contact their National Recruitment Team at, call 1300 643 737 or CLICK HERE. This article was paid for by National Home Doctor Service and developed by TMR. 

If you want to read the full after hours ‘inside story’ with all four interviews and commentary CLICK HERE


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