Graphic with a stethoscope and love hearts around the words 'Accessing Medical Care'

Medical care on campus; what’s available?

Picture this – you’ve woken up one day and you’re feeling off, “meh it’s not too bad I’ll probably be fine after a day or two, have some medicine and drink 2 litres of water”, but you’re still sick after 5 days. Heading to your GP for a session, the doctor gives you advice on how to treat this type of illness and writes you a prescription. Even with Medicare covering half of it, you’re still out of pocket heaps of money *Disappointed Face*. Fortunately, the University has some cheaper, more accessible health care options. 

The University of Newcastle Callaghan campus has a chemist located in the Shortland building, so you can conveniently grab what you need between classes. It’s extra handy for those of us who live on-campus or nearby. There is also a University of Newcastle GP located in the Student Services Centre at Callaghan and next to the library at the Ourimbah campus, and they both have bulk billing *Whoooo*. If you’re a current student with Medicare, you are all set for bulk billing. International students who have Allianz Global Assistance, Medibank Private, AHM, BUPA, or NIB Overseas Student Health Cover also get bulk billing. 

You might be wondering, “Hmmm what is bulk billing exactly”? What it means is that bulk billing will cover the session from your health professional, so the doctor bills Medicare directly and accepts the Medicare benefit as full payment for their service. So you don’t have to pay a cent for your session! 

How do I book a session for University Health Service? The GP at Callaghan is open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, both during the semester and semester breaks, these appointments are quick as they last up to 15 minutes. However, the Health Service is not available after-hours, on weekends or public holidays. If you need an urgent appointment, it is best to call between 8.30-9.00am as these clinics fill up very quickly, although if it is an emergency please just call 000. The Callaghan Campus Pharmacy it is open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday (except Christmas). They provide vaccinations, free prescriptions, free herbalist consultations and a wide range of over-the-counter-items.  

The Callaghan campus pharmacy

When I wanted to write this article, I was thinking about the times when I went to my GP and got great sessions for cheap prices because of my Medicare, but things are starting to get expensive and Medicare can only do so much when it comes to cost now.  I’ll share something a little personal with you – every once in a while, I have to get a couple of sessions regarding my skin health, and my GP prescribes me the best yet affordable medicine. I booked a session for things that in hindsight, might have not been significant enough to warrant booking a session, but I am still happy I took those precautions. I have taken those effective and affordable appointments a little bit for granted. I recognise that many people might not have the comfort of spending the extra bit of money for an appointment, I was fortunate to have had those appointments at a great price when I needed them.  

This is going to be a shot in the dark, but some people might only see a GP a couple of times a year, maybe even 4 times a year nowadays. That being said, I have been to the University Health Service and Callaghan Campus Pharmacy several times because of how convenient the location is and the friendly staff members. Health is a big priority, and it’s definitely worth checking out the University of Newcastle GP and Pharmacy if you’re looking for convenient medical care on campus. 

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