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Friday, June 21, 2024

ACT walk-in health clinic network to be expanded

Canberra’s nurse-led Walk-in Centres will join the national network of Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, providing more health services and care options in the ACT, Federal Health Minister, Mark Butler announced today.

“These Medicare UCCs are a critical part of the Albanese Government’s plan to strengthen Medicare and ensure Canberrans have access to the affordable healthcare they need, when and where they need it,” said the Minister.

“These centres will direct patients away from Canberra’s emergency departments, freeing up resources for patients with more serious needs.”

Building off the success of the Walk-in Centre model of care, the Federal Government has pledged more than $7 million to expand services and hire more healthcare professionals.

Funding to integrate the Walk-in Centres with the Urgent Care Clinic network will:

  • increase the number of nurses and allied health professionals – to increase coverage at all Centres, including:
    • 3 new Nurse Practitioners and 3 new Advance Practice Nurses
    • An advanced scope physiotherapist for the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre to treat patients with musculoskeletal injuries. The physiotherapist will also provide virtual assessments and support for nursing staff in other Walk-in Centres
    • A radiographer and sonographer for the Weston Creek Medical Imaging Service to extend the service to provide afterhours imaging

Funding will also provide more equipment for the Walk-in Centres to treat a wider range of conditions. This includes slit lamps and tanometers for eye examinations and removal of foreign objects in the eyes, handheld ultrasound machines for examination of lacerations and other wound types, and vascular doppler for investigating blood flow.

Over time, the scope of services will expand further to include treatment for shoulder injuries, male urinary tract infections, injury in pregnancy and screening for sexually transmitted infections.

“We know Canberrans value the services provided at our nurse-led Walk-in Centres, providing free public healthcare seven days a week,” said ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr.

“The extension of services to be offered at the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre, will see Canberrans able to receive assessment, medical imaging, and treatment for a minor injury all in the same location, without the need to go to the hospital.

“We will continue to work closely with community-based health services, including general practitioners, to ensure we are delivering an integrated health system where Canberrans can access the right care in the right place and at the right time.”

Canberra Health Services has commenced the recruitment of new staff and purchase of new equipment, it is expected the full scope of additional services will be available from early 2024.

Nurse-led Walk in Centres are open seven days a week, including public holidays. For current opening hours and waiting times, visit the Canberra Health Services website.

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