In a significant win for residents of the Hunter, New England and Central Coast, the federal government confirmed this week that three LGAs across the region will be home to four Medicare funded Urgent Care Clinics (UCC).
The Medicare UCCs will service the Tamworth, Cessnock, Gosford and Wyong communities providing treatment for urgent but not life threating illnesses and injuries. The clinics will deliver bulk billed health care for people requiring same day assessment who currently may otherwise have visited a hospital emergency department. The seven-days-a-week clinics will operate for extended hours and accept walk-in patients.
Richard Nankervis, CEO of the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) said the Urgent Care Clinics will provide additional care options for people across the region.
“The new model of care will make it easier for our communities to see a healthcare professional when they have an urgent, but not life-threatening, medical need, while simultaneously reducing pressure on the hospital system.”
“We know that almost half of all presentations to hospital emergency departments are not actual emergencies, but in many cases presentations by people who were unable to see a GP or unable to afford the medical attention they needed. The bulk billed Urgent Care Clinics will ensure that those with illness or injury can access the care they need, when they need it.”
“The addition of these four clinics across our PHN region is a win for all residents and I thank the Albanese Government, particularly our local members of parliament, for recognising the needs of those living across our vast and varied region.”
In 2020–21, 47 per cent of presentations to emergency departments were classified as Category 4 (semi-urgent) or Category 5 (non-urgent) and typically related to injuries such as broken bones, wounds and minor burns.
The Australian Government is investing $135 million over three years to fund 50 Medicare UCCs nationally. In total, 14 Medicare UCCs will be rolled out across NSW from 1 July 2023.