What our Panel said about managing health care during summer holidays

This month, we wanted to understand how our Panel members manage their health, or the health of someone they care about, during summer holiday periods.

Almost 65% of our Panel said that they or someone they care about has needed to access health care during a previous summer holiday period. For 2 in 3 people, this was an unexpected visit.

The majority of people who accessed health care during a previous summer had care provided at the local doctor’s surgery or an available doctor’s surgery. The second most common location was the emergency department, followed by a pharmacy or x-ray /medical imaging clinic (see word cloud below).

Word cloud Nov survey

We then asked the Panel whether the health care received met their needs (or the needs of someone they care about). Some key comments included:

  • 'The care received was as timely and appropriate as during the non-holiday period.’
  • 'I was given advice [from the hospital] on care and things to watch out for. I later visited my GP for follow-up.’
  • 'Hospital care was very limited, due to closures of beds and staff on holidays.’
  • 'I was cared for well [but] discharged early… All staff were very busy and beds at a premium. They do the best they can, given the demands on them.’

We also asked the Panel whether they have ever received specific instructions from a health care provider about how to manage health over the holiday period. The majority of people (65%) said no to this question. Of those who said yes, more than half (54%) felt ‘Very confident’ following the care plan suggested, and 46% felt ‘Somewhat confident’.

We also asked people whether they have made preparations to manage their health or someone else’s for the upcoming summer holiday. Almost half of the respondents (49%) indicated yes, while 30% of people said no. A further 22% said they don’t need to.

 Pie chart Nov survey

Question options

Above: We asked the Panel whether they have made preparations to manage health care over the upcoming summer holiday period.

When it comes to strategies for managing health ahead of the holidays, the top three actions were:

  • check prescription repeats and expiry dates
  • check I have enough medications or equipment
  • check medication expiry dates.

The Panel had some excellent tips and advice to share around planning for the summer holidays. Some key tips for members of the community included:

  • ‘If holidaying away from home, know where the nearest hospital emergency department is.’
  • ‘See your GP and pharmacist to make sure you have enough of all your medications to last the whole holiday period.’
  • ‘If you are caring for or assisting an elderly relative, have a contact list (for emergencies) ready all in the one location and advise other family members.’

Some advice for health care providers included:

  • ‘Poor health doesn’t have a holiday.’
  • ‘When unexpected care is required, providers need extra empathy for patients… Please smile!’
  • ‘Always be aware of events happening in your area which may cause visitor numbers to increase suddenly.’
  • ‘Please put on extra staff in public hospitals in popular holiday destinations over the summer holidays.’

Thank you to our Consumer Health Panel members for sharing your thoughts on managing health care needs during the summer holidays.

It’s important for the team at COORDINARE to understand the precautions people take and the challenges faced in accessing health care during this busy period.

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Seeking expressions of interest – help make a difference!
  1. Do you live in Southern NSW?
  2. Do you have one (or more) health condition(s) that cause you to frequently use health services?
  3. Have you had a hospital stay in the past 5 years?
  4. Would you be willing to talk about your health care experience in a group?
  5. Are you available to attend a two hour workshop in the following locations on one of the following dates:
  • Bega - 4 Dec
  • Cooma - 28 Jan
  • Queanbeyan - 18 Feb
  • Batemans Bay - 26 Feb

If you answered YES to these questions, Southern NSW Local Health District together with COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network, are seeking expressions of interest to be part of an important health workshop.

To register your interest or for more information, please phone Nina on 0436 847 010 or Emma on 0436 839 080.

You can also email SNSWLHD-Planning@health.nsw.gov.au.

Keep track of community groups and events

Did you know you can find out the latest health-related opportunities for the community on COORDINARE’s Community groups and events page? The page is updated regularly, and there are several great opportunities available.

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Please note: COORDINARE is not a clinical health service and cannot advise individuals about their health care. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding any questions or concerns you may have about a particular medical condition.