The Medicare Urgent Care Clinic will fill a major gap in primary health care in the electorate, according to Assemblyman Hunter Dan Repacholi.
Cessnock was confirmed, in the 2022-23 Federal Budget, as one of 50 sites across Australia to host a facility.
“The news is welcome – and long overdue,” Mr. Repacholi said.
“Access to health care is at the top of the list of concerns when I talk to residents of the Hunter.
“This clinic will help you with minor emergencies, like when your child falls off their skateboard and breaks their arm or you have a very deep cut that needs to be stitched up.”
Repacholi said the urgent care clinic would also make it easier for residents to receive high-quality care for urgent, but not life-threatening health conditions.
“They will be open for extended hours, seven days a week, to provide the care you and your family need at no patient expense.
“It will certainly reduce pressure on our local emergency department (ED), leaving overworked doctors and nurses available to deal with more serious and life-threatening cases.”
The Australian government is providing $235 million for the 50 clinics, including $100 million to co-develop and pilot innovative models with states and territories to improve care pathways and inform program rollout.
Consultations with the health sector, primary health networks and governments have begun to ensure clinics are developed to meet local community needs and integrated with existing emergency department diversion initiatives.
“After almost a decade of budget cuts and neglect by the previous government, it has never been so difficult to see a doctor at short notice,” said Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler .
“Dan passionately advocated for the Hunter constituency to be included in the rollout of the Medicare Urgent Care Clinic.
“This will make it easier for residents to see a doctor and allow our hospitals to focus on more serious cases.”
The clinic will be established as part of an existing GP clinic or community health center in the Hunter constituency and is expected to be operational from 2023-24.
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