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Cessnock Medicare Urgent Care Clinic Opens

The Medicare Urgent Care Clinic at Cessnock has been officially opened by Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health the Hon Emma McBride MP, alongside Member for Hunter Dan Repacholi MP and Richard Nankervis HNECC PHN CEO.

All Ways Healthcare has been selected as the provider for the clinic at Cessnock, which is now operating on Vincent Street. It’s providing bulk-billed non-life threatening healthcare to locals with extended hours in an effort to take pressure of nearby emergency departments.

Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health Emma McBride says it will make a big difference.

“It will enable patients and families to walk in and receive convenient, high-quality care from a nurse or a doctor.

“We’ve worked closely with the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network and New South Wales Government to ensure the Medicare UCCs align with local health services and the needs of communities across the state,” Ms McBride said.

Medicare UCCs will operate extended business hours, accept walk-in patients, and provide bulk-billed services resulting in no out-of-pocket cost to the patient when they have an urgent, but not life threatening, need for care.

All Ways Healthcare were identified as the preferred provider through a comprehensive tender process run by Hunter New England and Central Coast (HNECC) Primary Health Network.

All Ways Healthcare has been providing primary care to the Coalfields since 2004 with the establishment of a joint venture between the University of Newcastle and Hunter Health known as Cessnock Uni Clinic on the grounds of Cessnock District Hospital. By 2009 the success of the clinic resulted in it transforming to a stand-alone not-for-profit company, Community Healthcare (CHC).

In 2021, CHC moved to a new purpose-built facility in Vincent Street and commenced trading as All Ways Healthcare, ending a successful 16-year partnership with the Local Health District to improve access to general practice care in the Cessnock community.

HNECC PHN Richard Nankervis said, “All Ways Healthcare’s team of GPs, practice nurses, management and support staff provide a professional and caring environment to deliver high quality, best practice general medicine to families and individuals.”

“The PHN welcomes the commitment made by All Ways Healthcare, and the support of ForHealth, to ensure the people of Cessnock and the region have access to urgent care services when they need them.”

The clinic is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to establish 58 Medicare UCCs across Australia, including 14 in New South Wales.

In addition to Cessnock, the HNECC Primary Health Network will be commissioning an additional three Medicare UCCs by the end of 2023 in Gosford, Tamworth and Wyong.

Scope of Treatments at Medicare Urgent Care Clinics

UCCs are intended to provide short term, episodic care for urgent conditions that are not immediately life-threatening for people of all ages.

A UCC will be equipped to treat problems including:

  • Minor illnesses (including respiratory illness, gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections)
  • Minor injuries including closed fractures, simple lacerations, simple eye injuries and minor burns

UCCs will be equipped to provide the following procedures:

  • Wound management including gluing, suturing and dressings (including for minor burns)
  • Incision and drainage of abscesses
  • Basic fracture management including application of backslabs and plasters
  • Intravenous cannula insertion to allow for IV antibiotics and IV rehydration fluids
  • Urinary catheter management and changes for males and females
  • Removal of foreign bodies from the ear and nose

UCCs are not intended to treat potentially life-threatening problems (such as cardiac chest pain, severe shortness of breath or altered conscious state) or manage labour and birth. However, UCCs will have capacity to identify and manage these problems should people present with them including capacity to stabilise conditions whilst awaiting transfer to hospital, including providing resuscitation where required.

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