Delivering a Newcastle-Lake Macquarie Urgent Care Clinic

Media event date:
12 June 2024

Date published:
12 June 2024

Media type:
Media release

General public

The Albanese Government is delivering on its promise to strengthen Medicare for the Hunter with a new Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (Medicare UCC) to be established to service Lake Macquarie and Newcastle.
The Newcastle-Lake Macquarie Medicare UCC will take pressure off the John Hunter Hospital where around 40 per cent of presentations are category 4 and 5.
The service will be commissioned by the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network with an Expression of Interest process to be undertaken shortly.
The clinic is one of a further 29 to be established around the country as part of a $227 million expansion of the Medicare UCC program announced in the 2024–25 Budget.
The Newcastle-Lake Macquarie Medicare UCC will be open seven days a week, with extended hours, and will be completely bulk billed for walk-in care for urgent, but not life-threatening issues. 
There have been more than 71,600 visits to Medicare UCCs in NSW to date. Of these, almost one in three were by people under 15 years old, and more than one in three visits happened on the weekend. 
The Cessnock Medicare UCC is already providing a valuable service to the community for urgent care.
More than 60 per cent of presentations to the Cessnock UCC were seen for acute illnesses such as upper respiratory tract infections and over one in three visits were seen for an acute injury such as a laceration.
The Medicare UCCs in this region are in addition to the Albanese Government’s funding of $28.7 million to fully restore the GP Access After Hours Program managed by Hunter Primary Care after it was cut by the Liberals.
Together, it means people in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle will find it easier to see a doctor for urgent care.
Since the Albanese Government’s first Medicare UCC opened its doors there have been more than 425,000 visits to clinics across the country.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“The Albanese Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen Medicare and make it easier for people to see a doctor.
“People living in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle will be able to get the care they need from doctors and nurses without having to wait at the John Hunter.
“This clinic will make a significant difference in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle by providing high quality, accessible care outside of normal GP hours without having to reach for your wallet.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Shortland, Pat Conroy MP:
“Whether it’s saving the Hunter’s GP Access After Hours service, expanding the number of GPs who can practice here, or investing in Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, the Albanese Government is delivering on our commitment to improve the health outcomes of people in our community.
“This new Medicare Urgent Care Clinic will make it quicker and easier for people in the Hunter to see a doctor for urgent, non-life-threatening care.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon MP:
This Urgent Care Clinic will go a long way to help the people of Newcastle access quality, bulk-billed primary healthcare, when they need it.
I am proud to be part of a Labor Government that saved our GP Access After Hours service in Newcastle and re-opened the much-needed clinic at the Calvary Mater Hospital, which closed under the Morrison government’s watch.
Today, the Albanese Labor government is continuing to help Novocastrians get the healthcare they need with this commitment to establish a new Medicare Urgent Care Clinic in our community.
Accessing free Medicare healthcare is big issue in Newcastle, where bulk-billing rates remain frustratingly low. This new Urgent Care Clinic will help ensure that Novocastrians can access more bulk-billing healthcare services, where the only card you need is your Medicare card.
Quotes attributable to Member for Hunter, Dan Repacholi MP:
“Hunter locals have benefited significantly from access to the Cessnock Medicare Urgent Care Clinic.
“The addition of a new clinic at the John Hunter Hospital will make it easier for residents in the lower parts of the Hunter electorate to see a doctor for urgent care.
Quotes attributable to Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson MP:
“Thanks to the Albanese Government, another urgent care clinic is coming to our region providing much needed relief to the John Hunter Hospital’s emergency service. A welcome addition to our existing urgent care clinic operating in Cessnock.”

Author: ibm1

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