Top 10 comments on after hours from all sides

6 minute read

Top 10 comments made in the last few weeks on the 'after hours' debate from all points of the compass


Since an Ad Campaign by our largest and fastest growing deputising service, National Home Doctor Service, a few weeks ago, the medical fraternity, backed largely by the major medical bodies, has whipped themselves into a frenzy of dislike of these companies.

But it’s not just the doctors complaining. Medical Republic checked out Australia’s top review sites and they aren’t happy either –  the scoreboard is below. Not that you can rely on these sites  to get a realistic gauge of what is going on. pays it’s reviewers. Yellow Pages takes ad dollars from NHDS . And Well, nelly negatives obvious hang out there, though it is touted as the most accurate of the review sites.

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It’s hard to fathom , that despite the heat in the debate from all sides , the tension, claims and counter claims, and the amount of government funding for after hours items potentially being wasted, why there has been no independent research on the effectiveness of such services.

Medical Republic has gathered 10 of the best of comments we can find about the new deputising companies from all points of the compass – doctors, patients and one CEO working for a private equity deputising group. Now you can anecdotally judge for yourself.

  1. A Rort

“Medicare rebates to patients have been frozen due to the blowout in health spending in recent years. And yet here we have a service providing often unnecessary visits for top dollar, funded by Medicare and our taxes.

Use of the higher fee item numbers 597/599 have risen exponentially since the introduction of these services… suggesting that the system is being rorted by unscrupulous ‘dial-a-doc’ owners. We are all paying for this.”

ACRRM fellow Dr Tim Leeuwenburg commenting on the facebook page of Channel Ten’s news show, “The Project” after what many perceived as a puff piece done by the show on a deputising service.

  1. GPs are CHeap (good value for money we mean)

“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand that GPs provide home visit appointments and then quibble about the items they are billing. The sole reason the government wants urgent, after-hours services is because it’s cheaper to have a GP see people with trivial medical complaints rather than have them present to an emergency department.”

Dr Ben Howell, writing an opinion peice in The Medical Republic last week

  1. No cost no barrier

“The point missed is that probably 90% of the calls would never have been made if the patient had to expect a cost. But every call will result in a home visit and after hour home visit billing. And any slightly more complex (i.e emergency) case will be referred to ED anyway.”

GP – Commenting on the Ben Howell story

  1. Dial a plumber service

“The net result is a community that will get even more complacent about their health and get the Dial a plumber “Doctor” service to come fix it while they languish in front of the TV !! I will not indulge in discussing the billing rort !

The corporate surgeries did immense damage with 6 min Consults bulk-billed till now they are planning a trial of mixed-billing – Eureka ! they found it does not work.
Now the regular GP is confronted with the dial a GP”

GP – making comment on our first story a few weeks back 


  1. Pure Greed

” 6 hours to come to my house after they promised me a doctor would be there in 1 hour.

The doctor couldn’t speak English properly and was unfamiliar with my current medications. He said that it was company policy to call them again before he could look at my medications.

This was the worst medical experience of my life. These guys are not doctors- businessmen interested in money only and judging from my experience, I think they probably scam Medicare. This model is a way for business people to access Medicare. I now think it should be banned.

Pure greed and a terrible service. Go see your regular GP or head into Emergency.”

Allan Hyde – ‘not happy at all’ camper on

Note: The score on which is touted as the best of a bad bunch of review sites in Australia was 76% of 41 reviews rated the service as ‘terrible or bad’ (see table above)

  1. Great system

“I think this system is great. And for someone like myself who recently had surgery and can’t drive now finding a possible infection from my cannula, has the ease of a doctor being able to come to me. I just don’t like that I’m going on an almost 3 hour wait. I get they are busy. But three hours til almost 11pm on a Sunday night is a long time to wait. But great job and wonderful service though.”

Kelly Ikin, writing on NHDS Facebook page. Mind you, we could not find one bad post anywhere on the site so we suspect there’s a bit of moderation going on


  1. A positive outcome

“Out of hours medical deputising services are delivering a positive policy outcome that is improving access to care, reducing pressure on hospitals and saving taxpayer funds.”

Ben Keneally – writing in his own post on research done by his company on The Medical Republic

  1. Home delivery

“If you can pay for a home delivered pizza and plumber you should be able to pay for home delivered medical care.”

Dr Mark Raines, in response to a post by Ben Keneally promoting the NHDS service

  1. Asbestos is healthy

“It is akin to you publishing CEO written research by James Hardie that Asbestos is healthy, or by Philip Morris that smoking is good for you, or by Coca Cola that drinking coke will make you an athlete.”

Doctor writing to Misfits CEO, (The Misfits publishesThe Medical Republic), complaining about us publishing the piece by Ben Keneally and saying we have damaged ourselves by publishing the article

  1. Awsome


Review of NHDS by Tuna von Rieche – on google reviews, 8 months ago. He actually exists, we checked!

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