Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians, media conference - 30 April 2024

Read the transcript of Assistant Minister McCarthy's media conference in Cairns on Medicare Urgent Care Clinics.

Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health

Media event date:
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General public

ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS HEALTH, MALARNDIRRI McCARTHY: Hello, I'm Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and I'm also the Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health and Indigenous Australians and it's just lovely to be in Far North Queensland. I've spent some time on the Torres Strait this week and Yarrabah today. It's great to be here at the Urgent Care Clinic with Anna and just seeing how it's progressing. It was important when we came into government, as the Albanese Labor Government to decrease the rate on our hospital system across Australia. And we made a commitment to rolling out 58 Urgent Care Clinics. And we knew that one was also needed here in Cairns, and I'm very pleased to see the early results. So we'll be spending some time at Cairns hospital later on today. The whole point of this is to reduce the pressure on our hospital system.

JOURNALIST: Could you see another hospital opening up in Edmonton to ease the pressure on Cairns hospital?

McCARTHY: I think at this particular point in time, it's about the Urgent Care Clinic. I am pleased with the early results and I know Anna will be able to speak more on what has been actually happening here and who has been coming in that I think at this point the Urgent Care Clinics are what we're focused on.

JOURNALIST: Are the Urgent Care Clinics, are they good for Indigenous health? Do they cater to the Indigenous population as well?

MCCARTHY: It most certainly does cater to First Nations people across the country but especially here in Edmonton. We know that there has been a large percentage of First Nations people who are using the centre. The hours are really workable in terms of Monday to Friday, and then again on Saturday and Sunday up until 6pm. You do have doctors present. This is about alleviating pressures on the hospital but also being able to deal with those issues that are not as critical and patients can feel they can come in and get seen to.

ANNA STUY, PRACTICE MANAGER, CAIRNS SOUTH URGENT CARE CLINIC: My name is Anna Stuy, Practice Manager at the Cairns Urgent Care Clinic.

JOURNALIST: How many presentations have we had in the in the first four months?

ANNA STUY: Since we've opened on the ninth of December, we've had almost 3700 presentations here.

JOURNALIST: And what kinds of things are we seeing predominantly? 

ANNA STUY: Anything from wound care to lacerations, dog bites, tick bites, falls.

JOURNALIST: Do people know what they're going to get when they come here or do you often find people coming in for the wrong sorts of treatments?

ANNA STUY: We do get people presenting for the wrong presentations, but it is very clear on our website what we do see and what we don't see. So we're seeing categories 4 and 5 patients to alleviate the pressure on the emergency department. So if anyone's a bit uncertain of if they can be seen at the Urgent Care Clinic, they're welcome to phone us or they can look on the website and it does clearly state what we can and can't see.

JOURNALIST: What’s the future of the clinic. I mean, it's only been four months, but I mean, as word gets out, you'll have more presentation. Would you like to see more funding to expand services?

ANNA STUY: Of course we'd love more funding who wouldn't? But, yeah, as we get busier, we're just going to have to put more staff on. Hopefully we get to the stage that we can extend the building and have a lot more beds and a lot more doctors.

JOURNALIST: And would you like to see a hospital on the south side as well?

ANNA STUY: Yes, I think everybody would.


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