GP Urgent Care Clinic Network Pilot

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The 18-month GP Urgent Care Clinic Network pilot model, delivered in partnership with the WA Primary Health Alliance, will commence on 10 September 2019 and will enhance capacity within community-based GPs to care for patients with urgent but non-life-threatening medical conditions.

A cross-sectional study found between 200,000 and 400,000 WA patients with non-life threatening conditions could have been seen by GPs instead of hospitals.

Western Australians will now have more options of healthcare for non-emergency situations that are in the community and closer to home. There is no need to wait in busy emergency departments for minor injury and illness. People should always still go to hospital in an emergency.

Examples of urgent but non-life-threating medical conditions include:

  • Skin and soft tissue infections and symptoms, such as cuts and lacerations, mild burns and rashes, bites and insect stings

  • Musculoskeletal injuries such as minor fractures, sports injuries and minor neck and back pain

  • Other potentially urgent medical symptoms such as urinary tract infections and wound infections and abdominal pain. 

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Bookings for urgent care clinic appointments will be accessible via a real time online solution. The healthdirect phone number (1800 022 222) will also be an avenue for those people without an internet connection to link directly with a clinic to make an urgent care appointment.

The key message of 'Not all urgencies are emergencies.'

The pilot, developed in conjunction with WA Primary Health Alliance and supported by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA Faculty and the Australian Medical Association (WA), will provide better connection of care between hospitals and general practice to keep people well in the community - a key Sustainable Health Review recommendation.

There will be more than 125 GP practices across the State that will participate in the pilot, which will be supported through a comprehensive advertising campaign aimed to raise awareness of the types of conditions that the GP Urgent Care Clinic Network can treat.

All GP Urgent Care Clinics in the pilot will have access to pathology and radiology services. They will also include fully equipped treatment rooms to apply sutures, plastering and conduct minor procedures.

The University of Western Australia will complete a formal evaluation of the GP Urgent Care Network pilot with Curtin University validating the consumer data. This will allow us to establish what works based on scientific evidence.

Nearly one-fifth of attendances to WA Emergency Departments in 2017-18 could have been potentially avoided with treatment in primary care.

For more information about participating in the network, visit WA Primary Health Alliance (external site).

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