From time to time, you may find you fall ill and can't access your usual GP. If this illness doesn't constitute an emergency, who do you turn to? Walk-in medical clinics are settings where you can address minor injuries and illnesses that are serious enough to prevent you from waiting for a GP appointment, but not serious enough for you to head to the emergency room. Knowing how and when to use them will help you make an appropriate treatment choice.
It's the weekend, and it just can't wait
If you have a condition such as cystitis, waiting all weekend to see your doctor and grab antibiotics is painful. You may also put yourself in danger by allowing the condition to spread. Using a walk-in medical clinic for similar conditions is appropriate. It allows you to receive the treatment you need and stay comfortable, without having to wait to see your GP.
You suspect you have an STD
Sometimes there are conditions you don't want to chat to your usual GP about. While they won't stand in judgement, it's natural to feel like talking to someone you may not have to see again. If you suspect you have an STD, find a medical centre that provides drop-in services. Some may take a short while to provide results, but they can still give treatments for the conditions you present with. In addition, they're a good resource for pregnancy testing and the morning after pill.
It can't wait, but it isn't an emergency
As the title says 'emergency' rooms are for emergencies only. Walk-in medical clinics are usually appropriate for minor injuries that would otherwise waste an emergency physician's time. For example, you feel as though you've sprained your ankle. Or, you have a small cut that requires stitches. In addition to saving the time of the emergency room personnel, you'll probably receive treatment quicker.
You're away from home and you need treatment
If you're in another part of Australia and you fall ill, what do you do? Some conditions, like a sudden attack of violent diarrhoea or tonsilitis, are too difficult to struggle with before you go back to your usual care provider. Going to a medical centre's walk-in clinic allows you to receive medical attention promptly. As a result, you don't have to worry about ending your holiday early.
If you're still not sure whether your local medical centre can help, give them a call. They'll soon tell you whether presenting with your condition is appropriate.