Skip to content

Urgent Care

What is urgent care?

Urgent care is medical attention that is required within 2-12 hours for an illness or injury that is not life-threatening, such as sprains, bone fractures and dislocations, insect bites, rashes, gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, minor cuts and abrasions, minor ear and eye problems, and minor burns.

Urgent care is not a replacement for health and medical services that are managed in a regular general practice by a doctor such as general screening and health checks, vaccinations and prescriptions, mental health advice, family planning, referrals for tests, scans or specialist care, chronic disease management or preventive health procedures such as cervical screening tests.

Which urgent care service is for me?

Medicare Urgent Care Clinics

Medicare UCCs provide urgent care in a GP setting, helping to reduce pressure on hospitals and emergency departments, allowing them to focus on higher urgency and life-threatening conditions.

An Australian Government initiative, the Clinics are free to Medicare card holders and are open extended hours seven days per week. They offer walk-in appointments for eligible medical conditions and appointments can also be made directly with the clinic or via its online booking service.

Medicare UCCs are supported by highly skilled independent doctors and nurses, utilising quality treatment and procedure room facilities.  A GP or Registered Nurse will assess you when you arrive, and patients will be seen based on clinical priority.

If an x-ray is required it is included in the consultation, similarly with any necessary pathology, and these services will be either co-located in or nearby the Clinic.

After treatment a discharge summary and any instructions for follow-up care will be provided, and all paperwork will be accessible by your regular GP via My Health Record.

Learn more about the Medicare Urgent Care Clinics commissioned by HNECC PHN.

NSW Urgent Care Services

NSW Urgent Care Services provides short-term, one-off care for urgent health care needs that are not life-threatening. Urgent Care Services are provided either in-person or virtually (on the phone or by video call).

People should use an Urgent Care Service if they need fast medical attention for a health issue that is not life-threatening, or if they are unable to get an appointment at a local General Practitioner (GP) for a health issue which should not be left untreated.

People with urgent care needs can access a range of in-person and virtual Urgent Care Services by calling healthdirect on 1800 022 222.

healthdirect is available to call for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers speak with a Registered Nurse who asks some questions about their condition and then guides them to the care they need in the right place for their situation and location, including but not limited to an Urgent Care Service.

It is free for anyone to call healthdirect and receive information, advice or be connected with a health care service, including an Urgent Care Service.

Treatment through an Urgent Care Service is free for people with a Medicare card and for community-based asylum seekers.

Urgent Care Services in NSW are being delivered through collaboration between Local Health Districts, Primary Health Networks, Specialty Health Networks and local primary care and community care services.

virtualKIDS Urgent Care Service

The virtualKIDS Urgent Care Service is Australia’s first paediatric-specific virtual healthcare service. virtualKIDS is accessible via referral from healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for free, 24 hours, seven days per week.

It provides video consultations for children (and their families/carers):

  • ​Aged up to 16 years
  • With non-life-threatening health concerns
  • Located in NSW and in some border areas

virtualKIDS helps families access care and avoid unnecessary visits to hospitals where appropriate. Parents and carers are included in developing the care and treatment plan for their child with the specialist doctors and nurses.

The state-wide service is delivered by the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) and Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD).

It is staffed by senior paediatric nurses from SCHN and HNELHD. Paediatricians are rostered to consult as needed.

The nurses and doctors assess, treat and refer care based on each child’s needs. They can:

  • Speak with and provide information to parents and carers on how to safely care for a baby or child at home
  • Arrange a consultation with a virtualKIDS expert paediatrician
  • Refer the child to their local GP, Urgent Care Service or local children's healthnetwork
  • Arrange an ambulance to a hospital emergency department if needed.

Where necessary, the virtualKIDS team may follow up the care of a child. They may do this by video calls for up to three days.

Private Urgent Care Services

Private Urgent Care Services offer prompt and rapid access to an Emergency Specialist (FACEM) or doctor and highly skilled emergency care team, as well as diagnostics & treatment with streamlined patient-centred care involving coordination of care with other specialists if required.

Examples of private urgent care services within the HNECC PHN region include Heal Urgent Care and Spring Emergency Centre

If admission to hospital is required, you would have the option to be admitted to a Public or Private hospital under various admitting specialists.

Private urgent care services charge a fee for service that generally includes a consultation with an emergency expert and imaging and pathology if required.

Some services also include medications and treatments, procedures such as wound repair and fracture management, and consumables such as slings, plaster, boots, and crutches as part of a complete care fee. Others charge a consultation fee and then additional charges depending on the illness or injury and the treatment path required.

Health Professionals, stay up to date with the latest PHN news in your region
Subscribe to our newsletter