1800 IMSICK (Health Hotline) Service FAQ

The 1800 IMSICK service is a national, 24 hour, nurse triage and health support line for use by ADF Entitled Personnel if they become ill or injured after hours or are not in close proximity to a Defence health facility. The number has not changed. However, an enhanced service is provided under the new Contract with BUPA as of 1 July 2019. Calls are answered by 'call handlers' who are qualified and trained Registered Nurses, supported by a comprehensive system of clinical protocols and sophisticated IT system.

The service is intended for ADF members who become ill or injured after hours or are not in close proximity to a Defence health facility.

1800 IMSICK is not an emergency number. In an emergency ADF personnel should dial 000. 1800 IMSICK should also NOT be used for administrative and general enquiries including:

  • For information on health care entitlements;
  • Queries about invoicing and reimbursement of expenses for attending an Off-Base service provider; or
  • Enquires about the welfare or whereabouts of ADF entitled personnel who have not reported for duty.

In those cases, the local Defence health facility should be contacted.

Since transition to the 1800 IMSICK services has received almost 5000 calls from ADF members nationally. The service was transitioned on 1 October 2012 and during the months of October and November, received up to 800 calls per month. This more than doubled during the stand-down period with 1700 calls each during December 2012 and January 2013 thus far. Feedback received over the last few months from ADF personnel who have used the new service indicates they were very satisfied. They have reported that call handlers are competent, polite and provided appropriate and comforting advice that met their expectations.

The call handler will ask the ADF member for some personal identification and geographical information including their:

  • Name and date of birth
  • Employee ID/PM Keys number
  • Base, unit and location
  • Personal phone contact details

Collection of this information enables the call handler to best assist the member.

They will then be asked to describe their health problem. If referred to a health care service provider or facility, they will have the option to receive the contact and location details via SMS.

Note: The 1800 IMSICK service CANNOT provide approval for sick leave. It remains the responsibility of the ADF member to seek approval from Command for sick leave and/or advise if they will not be presenting for duty.

If advised by 1800 IMSICK to attend an Off-Base service provider, there is no requirement for a referral or approval number. There is also no requirement for ADF members to notify the 1800 IMSICK service of their attendance.

Defence health facilities will receive next morning reporting of any call relating to their dependency overnight to ensure ADF members are followed up appropriately and that Command is appropriately notified. There is also provision for more urgent notification of critical calls to the Regional Health Services HQ. It remains the ADF member's responsibility to notify Command of their location and disposition. The Health Hotline scripting advises the ADF member that it is their responsibility to notify Command.

Some of those service providers may not have an arrangement in place to invoice BUPA directly. This is no different to the previous situation where service providers did not have arrangements in place with JHC. We do not have control over the billing procedures for all health care service providers nationally, especially for after-hours care, and it is not reasonable to expect that either BUPA or JHC could have arrangements in place with every one of those providers. Therefore, on some occasions, as with previous arrangements, ADF members may be asked to settle the account, and then reimbursement will be arranged by their Defence health facility. In other cases, the service provider may provide an invoice which the ADF member can submit to their Defence health facility for payment. Both methods of payment are compliant with Commonwealth financial management and expenditure guidelines.