When the phone rings in the middle of the night, Dr Jonathon Hoy is up and out the door within moments, stethoscope at the ready.
Many years ago house calls were common practice. And now, thanks to Dr Jonathon Hoy and his team, Port Macquarie residents are once again able to have a GP visit them at home after-hours.
Jonathon graduated from University of New South Wales Medicine in 2007, before finishing his GP studies in Port Macquarie two years ago.
“Study and work gave me a gypsy life for the past 15 years,” Jonathon said.
He has lived in Canberra, Sydney, Perth, Terrigal and Bathurst, before moving to Port Macquarie four years ago.
A keen surfer, Jonathon appreciates the beautiful beaches and warm weather of the local area.
The decision to settle in the Hastings to raise his family was part of the motivation for Jonathon to establish the ‘Dr To My Home’ business. “I wanted to create something that would really contribute to my community.”
Jonathon saw a critical gap in non-hospital, after-hours medical care in the area.
“Too often I would hear stories of people who have had to ‘tough it out’ at home overnight, or of people having to wait in the hospital emergency department at midnight as there were other critical patients needing priority. I thought it shouldn’t just be people in the cities who have access to after-hours care.”
Following a year of careful research and planning, ‘Dr To My Home’ commenced in July 2015.
The bulk-billed service runs 6pm to 8am Monday to Friday, Saturday afternoons, as well as all day and night Sundays and public holidays.
Jonathon has a small team of dedicated and qualified doctors working in the business, as well as a team of drivers. The doctors visit patients in their homes and assess them, provide advice on their condition, order any tests and commence treatment to ease suffering sooner. A letter is then sent to the patient’s normal GP so they know exactly what is going on and can follow up as required.
“The most common callouts are for infections, pain and vomiting. Patients range from newborns to 100 year olds, so you need to be flexible and have a broad knowledge base.”
Some patients have more complex health issues to manage, but for Jonathon, the greater the challenge, the greater the satisfaction. “It’s one of the things I love most about my job.”
Jonathon admits it can be tough being woken in the middle of the night, but the thanks he receives from appreciative patients and their family members make it all worthwhile.
His innate compassion for the sick, strong work ethic and a sense of humour get him through even the most challenging days.
“I love coming home to my family at the end of a shift. My incredibly supportive wife and two boys mean there’s no time to get bored.”