The one planning item most people forget; Simple steps on how not to let it ruin your holiday!

It’s the not-so-glamorous side of planning a trip

BUT it can prevent your trip of a lifetime getting cut short or at the very least, avoid some massive inconveniences. 

Planning for your health! 

If you’re travelling around this great country, do remember that some regional and remote towns have limited GP and medical services.

Many clinics do not accept new patients, often do not offer bulk billing (even if you’re a pensioner or senior). 

No bulk billing No new patients or three week waits

Seeing an entirely new Doctor may mean you need a double appointment for a full assessment which can be hefty to the hip pocket.

Often in peak tourist periods you may find it takes several weeks notice to book an appointment.

Here are our top tips in preparing for you health on the road…. Here’s the limited liability section. We (Kimberleyland) are a caravan park, not medical Doctors, this advice (while good) is still generic and we don’t recommend you rely solely on our advice! Seek your own personalised advice with your health professionals.

1. See your GP about your trip. Don’t underestimate what advice he/she can give you about health care while you’re away, your Doctor will be familiar with your health background and making an appointment with them before you head off is an important start to your trip around Australia.

Plan your road trip around with Australia with your GP
Seeing your GP before you head off seems obvious but is often forgotten

2. Get as many prescription medication repeats as you can, as many as your schedule (and Doctor) allows. Remote pharmacists may not even stock your medication and some medications cannot be honoured in different states that they are issued in! (those on stimulants or opiads need to be particularly careful). So don't just get the repeats, actually fill them as well!! Put them somewhere safe! (which may be the fridge)

3. Ask your GP if they can issue prescription repeats remotely and fax them directly to your closest pharmacy. Legally a hard copy needs to follow so cannot be relied on 100%. 

Plan your scripts and record before you head off

4. Ask you GP if they could write up a letter (Patient Health Statement) outlining any ongoing health situations and/or drug requirements – this can also be useful in the event of an emergency. Also don't forget about 'My Health Record' - ask your GP Clinic to upload your records here as it can be accessed by most other medical centres and hospitals. 

5. Warm Winters do not skip the flu, this catches many people out. Just because it's going to be 30 degrees and sunny each day doesn't mean the flu will be dormant. Caravanning can be very social and you will probably come in contact with many travellers. If getting the flu shot is something you need or want to do, plan ahead and get the flu shot before you take off

6. Consider getting blood tests and other relevant tests done before you head off – just remember to take the copies with you.

Use technology such as telehealth and apps

7. Ask your GP Clinic if they can do any telehealth appointments – there’s no need to have advanced teleconferencing facilities, it’s possible to use a smartphone in combination with apps like Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp etc. They may have never been asked this before but with new technology emerging and available there’s no harm in asking!

8. If and when you need to book a GP appointment, it can be quite difficult to get an appointment. You may need to marry up where you are to when you can get an appointment – which could be several weeks away! Consider using apps such as HOTDOC or Health Engine to find an appointment time. Don’t forget to ask the clinic to forward any relevant notes to your usual GP.

Plan for the Flu and Medical Emergencies

7. Ambulance Cover. There are many factors that vary including pensioner status, differing tiers of ambulance cover, emergency v non-emergency cover, states which have reciprocal coverage agreements and multiple levels of cover from private health insurance…. This is something we recommend you ask your state ambulance provider, your health insurance company and/or GP for specific advice!

8. Travel Insurance – this was recommended to me by a GP. You may find yourself flown out of remote location in an emergency situation – but you don’t get to choose where you fly to for medical attention. You may find yourself in an unfamiliar town or city, only partly well and in need of resting up in accommodation or a difficult flight. In many cases there’s no return flight or trip home provided to you by the Government – and where travel insurance comes in handy. But speak to a specialist and get personalised advice for you.

We hope these tips help you enjoy your lap of Australia. If you want to help other travellers to enjoy their trip, potentially save money and put less pressure on rural and remote GP clinics, please share this article. Thank you. 

A special thank you to the Kununurra Medical Clinic and the Kununurra Amcal Pharmacy for helping us research this article for you. 

Don't let this one planning item ruin your Trip around Australia
Don't let the trip of a lifetime get ruined by a lack of planning for your health! 

 

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