Media event date: 
20 April 2020
Date published: 
20 April 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The first GP-led respiratory clinic in WA established as part of the Australian Government’s $2.4 billion health package to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak has opened in Geraldton.

The Federal Government is establishing up to 100 GP-led respiratory clinics around the country to assess patients with mild to moderate COVID-19-like symptoms. The clinics will reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments and other local general practices.

Federal Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton, said the Geraldton clinic, which opened today after a trial on Friday, was one of up to 100 dedicated respiratory clinics being set up across Australia as part of the Australian Government’s response to the outbreak.

“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 regional Australians through this crisis,” Minister Coulton said.

Durack MP, Melissa Price, said the local clinic is best placed to support people with fever, cough, sore throat, and other respiratory symptoms while avoiding the risk of infection in other members of the community.

“I encourage anyone in our community experiencing these symptoms to call the clinic or go online to book an appointment,” Ms Price said.

“The Federal Government has been working with local GPs and Aspen Medical - which has significant health emergency management experience in Australia and overseas - to roll out the Geraldton clinic.”

More than 260 fever clinics, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, are also in operation across Australia.

To access a clinic, people can visit health.gov.au and use the online booking system.                                                                                                                          

BACKGROUND:

  • 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 on the Health website's GP respiratory clinics page 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.