GP clinics in Mallee are assisting in the testing and tracing of COVID-19 as part of the Australian Government’s $2.4 billion health response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Since the first GP-led respiratory clinics opened in Macquarie Park and Morayfield on the 21March, more than 100 clinics are now open around the country, including in Mildura and Horsham to assess and test patients with mild to moderate COVID-19-like symptoms, reducing pressure on hospital emergency departments and local general practices.
Member for Mallee Anne Webster praised both Murray PHN and Western PHN for their work in establishing respiratory clinics to help test locals in Swan Hill and Horham for COVID-19.
Residents in Horsham and Swan Hill and across the rest of Mallee have been exemplary in their actions throughout the pandemic, and clinics such as the one here at will allow locals to be tested in a safe environment.” Dr Webster said.
“With more than 100 GP-led respiratory clinics open across all states, with more on the way, we will be extremely well-prepared to stamp out any new outbreaks, wherever they occur.”
Dr Webster said the local clinics are well placed to support people with fever, cough, sore throat, and other respiratory symptoms and avoiding the risk of infection in the communities.
“I’m pleased that both the Western PHN and Murray PHN, and local GPs have worked collaboratively with the Federal Government to deliver these important local clinic,” Dr Webster said.
“Due to our geographic isolation and distance from Melbourne, it’s vital that potential COVID-19 patients can be assessed and tested as soon as possible to prevent the further spread, which is exactly the service this clinic will provide.”
“Alongside these clinics, the COVIDSafe app helps to improve tracing and help keep more people safe and I encourage all members of the community to download the app.”
Throughout Australia there are now more than 436 clinics operating nationwide that include over:
- 102 GP led respiratory clinics funded by the Commonwealth
- 305 state fever clinics funded jointly by the Commonwealth and States
- 29 ADF clinics funded by the Commonwealth.
The clinics supplement a range of measures, including additional practice incentives and the expansion of telehealth, to enable the medical workforce to continue to care for Australians through the pandemic.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt thanked local GP’s for their work in establishing these clinics, ensuring more Mallee residents could be tested locally.
“While Australians and our wonderful health professionals have done an outstanding job of containing the virus so far, we need to be prepared for further cases,” he said.
“This rollout has only been possible because of the dedication and professionalism of our GPs, their staff and their representative organisations, all of whom deserve our thanks.”
Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton said the clinics are helping to ensure patients, including in rural Australia, with mild respiratory issues could see a doctor, without putting other patients at risk, almost half of the clinics are located in regional, rural or remote areas.
“Regional Australians are doing a brilliant job of protecting their communities by following the advice of experts, however if you have a fever, cough, sore throat or other respiratory symptoms, I urge you to make an appointment at one of these clinics to get tested,” he said.
“It’s equally important that people keep appointments and continue to consult their doctor without delay if they have a non-COVID related health issues.
“It is critical that respiratory Clinics are easily accessible to ensure safe and culturally supportive screening and follow-up care management,” Minister Hunt said.
The respiratory clinics have thorough infection prevention and control protocols to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. They provide assessments and testing for all people with symptoms to detect cases and allow them to be isolated as early as possible.
Patients attending a GP-led respiratory clinic should make a booking via the online booking system on health.gov.au or by phoning their nearest clinic.