Introducing My Home Doctor

Introducing My Home Doctor

A new after hours home General Practitioner service for you and your family.

From 1 May 2012 HCF members can access our new at-home after-hours GP service, My  Home Doctor. It provides consultations at your home from 6pm to 8am from Monday to Friday, 12pm Saturday to 8am Monday and 24 hours during public holidays.

My Home Doctor is provided at no extra charge to HCF members with hospital cover. The service, which is delivered through Family Care Medical Services, is currently available in North, Central and Western Sydney, and South-East Queensland. Members should keep an eye on the HCF website for updates of new areas throughout Australia where
My Home Doctor will be available.

To access the service eligible members simply need to call the dedicated number 13-SICK (7425) at Family Care Medical Services to speak with a consultant. The consultant will verify your personal details, Medicare number, HCF membership number and availability of service in your area before arranging for a doctor to attend you - usually within 2-3 hours.

The doctor's electronically recorded notes are forwarded to your GP the following day.

To find out if you're in an area covered by My Home Doctor, and for further information, see, call 13 13 34 or drop into your nearest HCF branch.

My Health Guardian V2.0

Caramelised onion & salami tortilla

Caramelised onion & salami tortilla

A hearty meal served with a salad makes a tasty lunch or dinner.

Serves: 4
Prep:15 min
Cooking Time:1 hr


500g desirée potatoes, peeled

1tbs olive oil

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

1 medium red capsicum, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

50g 40% reduced-fat shaved salami, thinly sliced

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

6 eggs



1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and parboil for 8 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water, then set aside.

2. Heat oil in an 18cm frying pan over medium heat. Add onion slices and cook, stirring, for 7-8 minutes or until softened. Add capsicum slices and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and salami and cook for 1 minute, then add vinegar and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

3. Cut potatoes in 5mm thick slices and add onion mix. Whisk eggs, season with salt and black pepper, then pour over potatoes, stirring to combine.

4. Wipe out frying pan, then lightly spray with olive oil and place over medium heat. Carefully pour potato mixture into pan. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until almost set. Remove cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. Preheat grill on high and grill tortilla for 5-10 minutes or until top is golden and set. Remove and set aside for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a chopping board, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Serve with baby rocket and cherry tomato salad.

Recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers Magazine.

New, improved My Health Guardian V2.0

New, improved My Health Guardian V2.0

We’ve just launched My Health Guardian Well-Being Connect with brand new and enhanced features.

It's a fact that people are most likely to change behaviours if they feel inspired, particularly if that inspiration comes from people connected to them who lead by example. 

With this in mind, we have just launched 'Well-Being Connect' to improve the My Health Guardian online experience. 

Well-Being Connect
Well-Being Connect will provide you with the tools you need to connect with health coaches and clinicians, with peers, and with your own personal well-being. New features include:

  • An up-front well-being assessment.
  • Member-selected 'health focus areas'.
  • Personalised well-being improvement plans.
  • Daily challenges.

Well-Being Connect encourages you to form your own social groups with friends and family, and to keep a journal of your progress, which can connect with Facebook.

Take a tour of the new, improved My Health Guardian Well-Being Connect today. To register or login see the My Health Guardian website.

Keep an eye on your macula

Keep an eye on your macula

Age-related macular degeneration can rob you of your eyesight so it’s important to have your eyes checked regularly.

Macular degeneration (MD) affects around 1 million Australians over 50, the Macular Degeneration Foundation reports. 

The condition refers to degeneration of the retina of the eye that causes loss of central vision, affecting the ability to see fine detail, read, drive or recognise faces.

There are two forms: wet and dry, both caused by accumulation of waste products underneath the retina. The dry form of MD causes cells to die, leading to 'missing' patches in the retina. Wet MD occurs when blood vessels grow into the retina and this form of the disease can advance rapidly. Along with regular eye checks it is important to seek medical advice if you experience any problems with your vision. The earlier macular degeneration is detected the more likely vision will be retained.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty reading or any other activity requiring fine vision
  • Distortion in the appearance of straight lines
  • Difficulty in distinguishing faces
  • Dark areas or empty spaces appearing in the centre of your vision.

Prevention and treatment includes:

  • Early detection
  • Dietary supplements
  • Lifestyle factors such as diet and stopping smoking.

Dry MD may be treated with dietary supplements. There are a number of options for treating wet MD, ranging from injections to laser therapy.

For more information on MD see the HCF EYECARE website.

If you have noticed a change in your eyesight or would like a check-up, take advantage of the HCF More for eyes program. The program is available to HCF members with most extras covers at any of the 7 Sydney HCF EYECARE Centres and Specsavers stores nationwide. Visit the HCF website to find out more.

Find your perfect frame with HCF EYECARE
Have you ever found that selecting your new glasses can be confusing with so many frames to choose from? HCF EYECARE may just have the answer with their face shape and colour guide system that is available both online and in store. 

New MyHospitals information

New MyHospitals information

The MyHospitals website has been updated with some important information that is well worth knowing about.

The Australian Government MyHospitals website provides information on individual Australian public and private hospitals. HCF is keen to inform members of the recent addition of two safety and quality indicators.

The two safety and quality indicators are:

1. Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB), which is a serious bloodstream infection (often called golden staph) sometimes associated with hospital care. The benchmark rate for SAB is no more than 2 infections per 10,000 bed days.

2. Hand hygiene, which is where a health provider has appropriately washed and sterilised their hands. This is paramount to reducing hospital acquired infections such as golden staph. The benchmark rate for healthcare workers correctly adhering to hand hygiene is 70%. 

HCF has compared these two safety and quality indicators for the top 20 public hospitals where HCF members choose to have their treatment. See the members section of the HCF website for information on the comparison for these hospitals. 

There are clear differences between these hospitals' safety and quality measures, with a number of hospitals being above or below the recommended benchmarks. The SAB benchmark was agreed by the Council of Australian Governments in the National Healthcare Agreement, while the hand hygiene benchmark has been advised as an interim measure by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. 

HCF encourages members to visit the MyHospitals website and investigate the safety and quality measures provided for those hospitals within their region and other hospitals that they may attend. At present, there is not enough information available on the site to provide the same analysis of the private hospital sector. We will let you know more once more information is available.

Make your house 'abled'

Make your house 'abled'

The best way to include disability features at home is from the floor plan up.

If you are building your retirement home or wondering what adaptations to make for a disabled family member, the Australian Government's Your Home website advises considering these factors: 


  • Opt for a single-level entry and use ramps where necessary.
  • Entry should be visible from the entrance to the property and the parking area.
  • Make garage doors electronically operated.
  • Access paths should be well drained, non-slip and a contrasting colour to surrounds.
  • Light pathways close to the ground. 


  • Look for generous door widths and space for easy movement between areas.
  • Lever-type taps and door handles are easier to use than turning designs.
  • Opt for rocker light switches, at 90-110cm height.
  • Electrical outlets should be at 60cm height.
  • Windows should enable unobstructed exterior views from sitting to standing positions.
  • Consider installing two-way light switches in hallways.
  • Junctures between different floor surfaces should be level and covered by protective strips.
  • Consider installing a modular kitchen that can be reconfigured easily. 

Wet areas

  • Non-slip surfaces.
  • Easy to access storage.


  • Letter boxes, clothes lines and rubbish bins accessible via paths.
  • Consider installing raised garden beds.
  • Garden features should not limit visibility through the site.
  • Car parking should be close to the entry and covered.
  • Use movement activated sensor lights. 

For more detailed information about 'abled' home design, visit the Your Home website.

Eat fresh for better health

Eat fresh for better health

Improve your nutrition levels and cut your grocery bills by acting on these simple tips.

Eating fresh seasonal produce is better for your health and easier on the environment too.

Reader's Digest Australia's Health Smart website recommends:

1. If possible, grow your own fresh produce. About 10% nutritional value is lost between the farm and the table.

2. Buy in season. You'll avoid items kept in cold storage for months and be able to take advantage of gluts from suppliers.

3. Buy in small quantities and eat straightaway. You avoid waste and get the best nutrition.

4. Handle easily bruised produce with care so it doesn't spoil.

5. Ask your butcher and grocer about the best way to store your purchases.

6. Once cut, vegetables lose vitamins. Prepare just before eating or store unused cut pieces in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the fridge.

7. Ripen fruit at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Refrigeration blocks the ripening process.

8. Eat meat and fish within 2 days of purchase. Always refrigerate or freeze fish as soon as possible.

9. Plan to eat your most perishable items first: leafy greens and herbs, stone fruit or berries. Root vegetables and produce with thicker skins will last longer.

10. Drink fruit and vegetable juices within 3-4 hours of squeezing.


For more information about healthy living, check out the new, improved My Health Guardian Well-Being Connect.

Banish bad breath

Banish bad breath

Having bad breath is socially disastrous but for most people it is easily remedied.

The medical condition halitosis is actually quite rare and affects around 2.4% of the adult population, according to Better Health Victoria. Halitosis is mainly caused by sulphur-producing bacteria on the surface and back of the tongue.

Other causes of bad breath include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Gum disease
  • Dry mouth caused by medicines, alcohol, stress or medical conditions
  • Smoking
  • Reflux from the stomach
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Illness.

Bad breath caused by eating foods such as onions lasts only a short time. 

Symptoms include:

  • White coating on the tongue, especially the back
  • Dry mouth
  • Build-up around teeth
  • Morning breath or a burning tongue
  • Thick saliva and the need to clear your throat
  • Constant unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Treatment of bad breath depends on the cause.

  • Good oral hygiene comprising brushing and flossing teeth is generally important.
  • Tongue cleaning is recommended to remove coating.
  • Nasal spray may improve symptoms of chronic sinusitis.

If you suffer from bad breath talk to your dentist who will be able to help identify the cause.

If you have Extras cover, you are entitled to 2 scale and cleans and
1 fluoride treatment each year (subject to annual limits). These check-ups are fully covered, with no gap, at an HCF Dental Centre or through HCF's Oral Health Program. The Oral Health Program is available to members in VIC, ACT, QLD, SA and regional NSW. For more information, call HCF on 13 13 34 or visit the HCF website.

Same medicine, different brand

Same medicine, different brand

Many medicines are manufactured and sold under different brand names, so sometimes your pharmacist may offer you a different brand of your regular medication.

There are currently many medications available in Australian pharmacies with the same active ingredient - the chemical that makes it work - even though they have different brand names and are packaged differently. 

Differences in shape, size, colour and taste are because of 'inactive' ingredients such as lactose, gluten, sugar, preservatives and dyes. If you have allergies, intolerances, or avoid certain substances for other reasons, check the inactive ingredients in the consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet or ask your pharmacist or doctor.

To ensure a particular medicine is the same as another brand, check the label or packaging. If both medicines have the same active ingredient, they are the same medicine. For example, the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin is the active chemical in Zocor, Zimstat, Simvar and Superstat.

The next time you're offered a different brand of your medication, the NPS website recommends asking these 5 questions:

1. Is it okay for me to choose a different brand of my medicine?

2. What are the benefits and disadvantages for me if I use a different brand?

3. Is there a difference in cost?

4. Which of my usual medicines does this replace?

5. What is the active ingredient in my medicine?

Remember, the more information you have, the more confident you'll be when making your final choice. 

Pet ear problems

Pet ear problems

Ear infections in dogs and cats are easily treated if caught early.

Dogs and cats can develop ear infections due to a number of common causes, according to

These include:

  • Ear mites
  • Foreign objects such as grass seeds in the ear canal
  • Hairy or drooping ears in some dog breeds.

Symptoms  of ear infection may include:

  • Scratching the ears
  • Shaking the head
  • Holding the head on an angle
  • Rubbing the head on the ground
  • Unpleasant odour
  • Discharge from the ear.

Unfortunately irritation in the ears can cause a waxy discharge that provides a breeding ground for bacteria, yeasts or fungi, making the problem worse.

The first step is to get an ear cleaning solution from your vet to dissolve the wax, reduce infection and kill mites.

Here's how to clean your pet's ears:

1. Following your vet's instructions, choose an outdoor location and apply the solution to the outer parts of the ear with a soft cotton ball.

2. Then put a drop of the solution in each ear and massage the area below the ear hole.

3. Stand well back. Your pet will probably vigorously shake its head, spraying dissolved wax far and wide!

If symptoms persist it may be necessary to get a course of antibiotics prescribed by your vet.

Pet insurance can help if your pet falls ill. HCF members receive a
10% discount on new pet insurance policies.

Pet insurance is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 (AFSL No. 241436). Consider the combined Financial Services Guide and the Product Disclosure Statement before deciding to buy or continue to hold this product.

Safety proofing your luggage

Safety proofing your luggage

Losing your luggage is a traveller’s nightmare. Here are some tips for making sure a lost bag doesn’t ruin your trip.

Statistics from the United States indicate that about 1 in 200 travellers file a lost luggage report, according to the No Holiday No Life website.

In most cases the airline can locate your bag reasonably quickly but it may not turn up for days, or even at all.

No Holiday No Life recommends the following packing precautions:

  • On short trips, if possible travel with carry-on luggage only
  • Put your contact information on every bag and put a duplicate of all your travel documents inside all of your bags
  • Customise the appearance of your bags
  • Keep valuables with you
  • Ensure any valuables you take are insured for their full value
  • Have back-up copies of business materials in another bag
  • Ensure any essential medicines are in your carry-on luggage
  • Distribute essential clothing and underwear between more than one bag. 

Baggage handling checklist:

  • Check the airline tags on your bags to ensure the 3-letter identifier matches your destination
  • Always keep the stub from your checked luggage, it is essential to retrieving it if it goes missing
  • Report an item of lost luggage immediately. Speak to the baggage handlers in the first instance and your airline representative next. 

Put your mind at rest when travelling.HCF members receive a
10% discount on travel insurance.

HCF Travel Insurance is issued by QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd ABN 78 003191 035 (AFSL No. 239545). Before you apply you should read the Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide and consider whether this cover is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs as the information we have provided does not take these into account.

Plan for your future with retirement living

Plan for your future with retirement living

The Heritage is one of our retirement lifestyle facilities designed especially for the over 55’s, offering residents the utmost quality of life in their retirement.

Located in Hunters Hill, The Heritage offers luxury living with an ideal mix of independence and privacy with community living. 

Social life
Regular social activities are a feature, and residents have access to shared facilities such as a billiards room, library, outdoor BBQ area and elegant reception and dining rooms at historic Mary MacKillop House for entertaining.

All apartments are designed to offer an ideal mix of independence, privacy and security in a community living environment.

The apartments boast superior features, including:

  • Spacious living/dining areas with balconies
  • Ensuites and generous built-in wardrobes
  • Granite finished kitchens with Fisher & Paykel appliances, including dishdrawer dishwashers
  • Ducted air conditioning, in-house monitored smoke alarms, security and intercom systems
  • Ample storage space with internal laundries
  • Secure underground parking, with an optional second garage. 

We invite you to our open home
We currently have 2 and 3 bedroom apartments available at The Heritage. If you are in the Hunters Hill area, we would like to invite you to take a tour of the village at our open days on:

  • Saturday 12 May 10am-12pm
  • Wednesday 16 May 10am-12pm
  • Saturday 19 May 10am-12pm

Located at 35 Gladesville Road, Hunters Hill.

For more information, please call the Village Manager, Colin Lockwood, on 02 9817 5222. Visit the Manchester Unity website for a factsheet and to take an online tour of The Heritage.