We Are Open – extended hours response by general practice, AMS and pharmacy

“We Are Open” focuses on supporting general practice, AMSs and pharmacies to extend their opening hours at short notice.

The  program is not currently open but will be activated in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

Emergencies and natural disasters may disrupt access to health care facilities, reduce the availability of the health workforce and cut off essential utilities such as electricity, water and telecommunications.

In rural areas particularly, there is also the potential for natural disasters and emergencies to exacerbate existing workforce shortages.

Primary health care, however, has an important role to play in the health of consumers affected by emergencies and disasters (Natural Disaster and Emergency Learnings: Recommendations Report, Rural NSW Natural Disaster and Emergency General Practice and Primary Health Partnership Group).


“We Are Open” supports general practice, AMSs and pharmacies to open for additional hours at short notice, during an emergency or natural disaster and in the immediate recovery. This initiative applies only to affected areas and to additional hours the practice would not normally provide.

Please also read the HealthPathways page Disaster Management – General Practice Response, which includes advice for GPs and nurses who may elect to attend evacuation centres as ‘spontaneous’ volunteers.

What's Involved

Healthy North Coast will make a payment of $400 per three-hour session on weeknights (5-8pm) and $600 per three-hour session on a weekend. This payment acknowledges the coordination work required to prepare for additional service delivery and outlays, should patient volume be low at such short notice. To participate, fill out the enrolment form in “Express Your Interest” below .

Enrolment requires a signed recipient-created tax invoice (RCTI) agreement with Healthy North Coast.  An RCTI is a single form requiring the signature of a practice owner or delegate. This will allow Healthy North Coast to pay you for your after-hour sessions without you needing to provide an invoice. Practices or pharmacies who have participated in other programs with Healthy North Coast before will already have one of these.

You will also agree to:

  • allow Healthy North Coast to communicate your extended hours to evacuation centres, the LHD emergency departments and others involved in the emergency and relief efforts
  • specify the times and dates that you will open your service after hours.
  • collect data on service utilisation.

General practices and AMSs will also agree to:

  • see new patients affected by the emergency
  • charge patients the same bulk billing and fee structure as regular weekday fees
  • provide information on patient volumes during the additional sessions (this information will be aggregated and will not identify activity at any individual practice).


  1. Submit your We Are Open Enrolment Form below
  2. Request payment using the We are Open Payment Request Form below. Please note: you can only submit a payment request after your extended opening dates.
Express Your Interest
We Are Open Enrolment Form

We Are Open Payment Request Form

Please note: you must submit an enrolment form before requesting payment.

Contact for more information

For more information please contact your Primary Health Coordinator or Aboriginal Health Coordinator, contact details below.

We'd love to hear from you