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Eastbrooke Announced as Townsville Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) service provider

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN), together with the Federal and State Governments, is pleased to announce Eastbrooke Family Clinic will be established as the Townsville Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) and intends to start seeing patients from Monday 18 December 2023.

The Townsville Medicare UCC will be located at 86 Thuringowa Drive, Thuringowa Central, and will be open extended hours, seven days a week.

It will be bulk-billed and offer walk-in care to treat urgent non-life-threatening conditions that can be managed without a trip to the emergency department but cannot wait for a regular appointment with a GP.

The Townsville Medicare UCC will help ease pressure on the Townsville Hospital and Health Service (HHS) emergency department (ED).

NQPHN welcomed the Department of Health and Aged Care’s (DoHAC) announcement earlier this year that, of the 58 Medicare UCCs across Australia, one would be in Townsville. Eleven Medicare UCCs are currently being rolled out in Queensland, including another northern Queensland clinic in Cairns.

NQPHN CEO Sean Rooney said NQPHN had worked with local service providers and the Townsville HHS to localise the national initiative.

“We know there is a real need for an urgent care clinic in Townsville and it is our priority to make sure residents have access to the primary health care they need, while also reducing pressure on the hospital’s emergency department,” Mr Rooney said.

“Eastbrooke Family Clinic was selected as the lead provider following a rigorous select tender process and is equipped to meet the urgent health care needs of residents in Townsville and the surrounding areas.

“Extensive planning and codesign was undertaken to ensure the Townsville Medicare Urgent Care Clinic will seamlessly integrate with emergency services and existing general practice care, resulting in a clinic that can deliver high-quality, safe urgent care services, ideally suited to the needs of the Townsville community.

“Robust referral pathways to the urgent care clinic, and back to the patient’s regular GP, will also ensure people can access the right care at the right time.”

Director of Eastbrooke Medical Centres Andrew de Picot said the Townsville Medicare Urgent Care Clinic would provide the region with a new alternate service that catered for patients who required urgent short-term care.

“Eastbrooke is delighted to take a leadership role in the establishment and operation of the Townsville Medicare Urgent Care Clinic, and we look forward to working collaboratively to deliver this new service to our local community,” Mr de Picot said.

“The facility will be staffed by a team of GPs and nurses, and patients will be triaged on arrival to treat urgent conditions like lacerations or cuts requiring stitches, basic fractures, minor burns, rashes, ear nose and throat infections, and gastroenteritis.

“We know this will help to alleviate some of the pressure from the emergency department at the Townsville University Hospital.”

NQPHN adopted a three-phased approach, collaborating with Townsville HHS, Queensland Ambulance Service, and local service providers to localise, plan, and implement the Townsville Medicare UCC, which will complement existing health services in the region.

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