Health clinic officially opens

Health clinic officially opens

The Mount Gambier Medicare Urgent Care Clinic was officially opened last week following a “soft launch” in November last year which saw around 20 patients on the clinic’s opening day.

Patient numbers have soared since with the medical facility now regularly seeing up to 40-60 patients a day compared to 20-30 when it first opened.

The clinic is open from 8am-10pm seven days a week to treat minor injuries and illnesses such as headaches, ear aches, urinary tract infections, coughs, colds, lacerations and fractures.

Mount Gambier Medicare Urgent Care Clinic owner and clinical director Dr Richard Try said the clinic can get so busy they have to roster on two doctors on despite the Federal Government only funding one.

“The plan and the budget we have got from the Federal Government is for one doctor and one nurse on at all times but sometimes we have to put second doctor on just because it has been so busy on Mondays and Sundays,” he said.

“I think it is word of mouth that really gets people to come and the emergency department point people to us as well, but I think the increasing numbers are partly down to the need in Mount Gambier.

“There are a lot of people that do not have a regular general practitioner, some of them do not even have Medicare cards, they are not even in the health system yet and they are entitled, they are Australian but they do not know how to get one.

“They are not health literate in that way, so we help people and I think that is where it can be really helpful is giving people another way into the health system.

“The other thing is GP clinics are telling people to come to us because general practitioners are under a huge level of pressure.”

Dr Try said he believes the clinic is helping to relieve some of the stress imposed on local general practitioners and the Mount Gambier Hospital Emergency Department.

“It is not just the hospital, it is the local GPs and those patients who cannot get in with their GP would have gone to hospital anyway or may not have had care at all,” he said.

“Speaking as a GP, if we had more GPs in the country perhaps the gap would not be there, but the gap is there so this is helping bridge that.

“I think we are all part of a network and we are all in it together so if we all work together then the outcome is better than it would be apart.

“We have collaborated with all the GP clinics in town, they know what is going on and communicated with them all and the emergency department has been amazing.

Dr Try said the amount of support from the Limestone Health Network through to the Emergency Medical Dispatchers and the nurses and consultants has been “brilliant” in making sure the facility is ready.

“The thing that has been really humbling about this has been the community enthusiasm for it and I see this Urgent Care Clinic not as our Urgent Care Clinic but as one for the community and to see that so many people are wanting to make things work in this area is wonderful,” he said.

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