Urgent care clinic pledged for the west

May 15, 2022 BY

Pledge: Ballarat Community Health CEO Sean Duffy, Member for Ballarat Catherine King, and emergency nurse Steve McKenzie see the benefits of a suburban urgent care clinic. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

IF a Federal Labor government is elected this month, an urgent care clinic will be built in the western growth corridor of Ballarat.

Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, said the health centre would be bulk billed and designed to take unnecessary pressure away from the emergency department at Ballarat Base Hospital.

“The clinic would be GP, nurse practitioner, and nurse-led, targeted at category five and low category four patients who really need attention, but should not be ending up in our emergency department,” she said.

“Our emergency department is under incredible pressure… which means these categories of patients are having to wait a really long time to be seen because the ED is attending to people who need to be seen more urgently.”

“These are people who’ve got a break, sprain, burn, might need stitching, hydration, or observation for a while if they’ve had a knock on the head at sport.”

Ms King said the clinic would be based in either Lucas or Winter Valley, and a tender process would be carried out to appoint a community health or general practice group as its operator.

“With the growing population in the west, the demand for services is incredibly high, so an urgent care clinic out there would be sensible… and the fact that it will be bulk billed is critical,” she said.

Ballarat Community Health CEO Sean Duffy said this project is a “natural progression” for the city.

“This is about building services in the growing communities, and most importantly diverting non-urgent cases out of hospital into community health-type environments,” he said.

“The intervention might require more than urgent care, it might require a referral, so the benefit of placing urgent care in community health GP-led centres means we can link to other services really quickly and easily, and reduce the demand on the hospital.

“We’re seeing increasing demands in the west and south-western growth corridors… so it absolutely makes sense.

“We will certainly be interested in delivering it, or working with partners to deliver it, so it’s a welcomed addition.”