The first GP-led respiratory clinic in country South Australia established as part of the Australian Government’s $2.4 billion health package to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak has opened today in Clare.
The Government has committed to establishing up to 100 GP-led respiratory clinics around the country to assess patients with mild to moderate COVID-19-like symptoms.
Federal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey MP welcomed the opening of the Clare clinic located at Clare Medical Centre on 41 Old North Road Clare.
“While the coronavirus is not widespread in rural areas, it’s important we have local doctors in our communities leading the local response and preparing in readiness should the virus continue to spread,” Mr Ramsey said.
“These respiratory clinics will be best placed to support people with fever, cough, sore throat, and other respiratory symptoms and avoiding the risk of infection in the communities.
“They will also help to reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments and other general practices.
“I encourage anyone in the community experiencing symptom to call the clinic or go online to book an appointment.”
Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton MP said the Government is working with local GPs and Aspen Medical, which has significant health emergency management experience in Australia and overseas, to rollout the clinics.
“Rural and regional parts of the country deserve health care services of a comparable standard to that provided in our major metropolitan cities,” Minister Coulton said.
“The Government is focused on ensuring rural and regional communities are prepared to respond to this pandemic. That’s why we are putting in place a range of measures including additional practice incentives and the expansion of telehealth to enable the rural medical workforce to continue to care for rural people.”
The Government is investing $206.7 million to establish up to 100 respiratory clinics across Australia, including in rural and regional areas in each state and territory. To access a clinic, people can visit www.health.gov.au and use the online booking system.
Additionally, more than 160 fever clinics, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, are also in operation across Australia.
The Clare GP Respiratory Clinic is located at Clare Medical Centre
41 Old North Road, Clare.
People with severe symptoms should call 000 and/or attend the nearest hospital emergency department.
People with mild to moderate respiratory symptoms will need to make an appointment either online via booking links available at health.gov.au or over the phone if the clinic has made a local phone booking arrangement available.
It is important that people attend the clinic only at the time of their booking so that social distancing can be maintained, and they may be asked to wait in their car until the clinic is ready to receive them.
People will be assessed by a GP or a nurse under the supervision of a GP and have a specimen taken for pathology testing if that is indicated.
Regardless of whether a test is undertaken, the person will receive clinical advice on how to manage their symptoms and an initial follow-up phone call or text message with test results and to check on how they are going.
After people have visited the clinic, they will remain eligible to continue to consult their regular GP using the MBS telehealth items