Emergency Department Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need private health insurance to come to The Friendlies Emergency Department?
No, you do not need private health insurance to come to The Friendlies Emergency Department.

If I am feeling unwell and would like to see a doctor, can I come to The Friendlies Emergency Department, or it is just for Ambulance cases?
Anyone needing emergency care or an after hours doctor can present themselves to the emergency department. No appointment or referral is necessary.

Will there be fees?
Yes. All private emergency departments have fees for service. Most people, regardless of whether they have private health insurance, can expect to pay a minimum out-of-pocket cost of $120, with a maximum capped at $250. This is one of the lowest fees in Australia for a private emergency department. For DVA Patients and approved Workcover patients there will be no out of pocket.
Patients with no Medicare Card such as overseas visitors and those on visas will be required to pay the full fee. There are no pensioner discounts.

Emergency Department

Can I claim the out-of-pocket from Medicare or my private health insurer?
No. You are not able to claim it back from Medicare. Most health funds don’t cover private emergency treatment but a small number do. Check your cover.

If I need investigations as part of my visit (such as pathology or medical imaging) do I have to pay? 
Radiology and Pathology providers may issue accounts separately. A Medicare rebate may also be available for these services.

What can I expect from a private emergency department?
There will be minimal wait times to see an experienced emergency trained doctor. You will receive a follow-up phone call the next day and you can return to the Emergency Department any time in the following week for the same condition and there will be no additional out-of-pocket cost. If you have private health insurance you can be admitted directly to the Friendly Society Private Hospital and will have access to leading specialists.

What if I need admission to hospital?
If you need admission to hospital following your visit to The Friendlies Emergency Department, you will have three options to choose from. If you have private health insurance you can be admitted directly to the Friendly Society Private Hospital. If you don’t have private health insurance you can choose to be admitted to The Friendlies as a self­-funded patient, or you can be transferred to the Bundaberg Hospital. You will still need to pay for your Emergency Department visit.

If I need an ambulance, can they bring me directly to The Friendlies?
In a lot of cases, the ambulance will be able to bring you directly to The Friendlies, depending on your case. The paramedics will be the best healthcare professional to make that decision. The Friendlies recommends letting Queensland Ambulance Service staff know your preference of hospital. Our VIP card can help you to make your preference known. You can request a card or find out more about them here.

When are you open?
To ensure the financial viability of the Emergency Department, as a starting point we have opted to begin our service from 8am to 8pm. If the community supports the ED there may be an option to extend the hours of operation. Outside of these hours, the closest emergency care is at the Bundaberg Hospital.