The Federal Government is labelling Bundaberg’s new Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) a success.
Since opening on November 20, 650 people have been treated for less serious injuries and illnesses.
“That’s 650 times in less than two months that Bundaberg residents have got cheaper, faster medical attention,” says Queensland Senator Murray Watt.
“The Bundaberg Medicare UCC is easing pressure on the Bundaberg Base Hospital and is much more convenient for the Bundaberg community – closer to home, at short notice, and bulk billed under Medicare.
“More than 40 per cent of presentations to Bundaberg Base Hospital are for non-urgent or semi-urgent care, so if we can ease that pressure it is only going to be good news for patients.”
New data shows 12,000 people presented to the local emergency department between July and September last year.
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith anticipates the clinic will help lower that figure in coming months.
“The really good thing is that we know that the Urgent Care Clinic will soon be expanding their hours,” he says.
“That’s a big commitment that they’ve made is that they want to expand those hours because they know that the demand is there.”
However there have been some concerns people are using the clinics to access free GP care with many practices in the community turning away from bulk billing.
Senator Watt says the Federal Government is working to address this.
“In last year’s Federal Budget we tripled the incentive that is being made and paid to GPs to bulk bill and we expect that over the course of this year that will lead to an increase in bulk billing in regional centres, but importantly we also expect that it will prevent doctors who already bulk bill from walking away,” he says.