People in the Eurobodalla who need urgent health care, for non-life-threatening conditions, can walk-in to the new Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (Medicare UCC) now open at Batemans Bay Hospital, 7 Pacific Street, Batemans Bay.
The Batemans Bay Medicare UCC is funded by the Australian Government and was officially opened on Tuesday (December 5)by Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP.
“This clinic will make it easier for the community to get the urgent treatment they need and to take pressure off Batemans Bay Hospital’s emergency department,” Ms Phillips said.
“We were determined to open the doors to this new clinic before Christmas, in time for the usual increase in demand for urgent and semi-urgent care experienced over the holiday period,” she continued.
“Urgent Care Clinics provide fully bulk billed urgent care, by highly trained doctors and nurses and appointments are not required. The Batemans Bay UCC is conveniently located at the same site as the emergency department and is open 8am to 6pm, seven days a week including public holidays.”
Peter Ryan from the Don’t Close Batemans Bay Hospital Emergency Department Committee, has welcomed the news of the Urgent Care Clinic opening but told East Coast Radio it won’t replace the local ED when it closes upon the competition of the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital.
“In a nutshell it’s another doctors surgery that’s going to take the pressure off other GPs so people can get in quicker and that’s a great service and we fully support that,” Mr Ryan said.
“But it’s only for minor injury and illness but it’s not a replacement for an emergency department.”
According to recent data, almost half of all presentations to New South Wales hospital emergency departments and 56.3 per cent* of presentations at Batemans Bay Hospital emergency are for semi- and non-urgent conditions.
Mr Ryan needs 10,000 signatures to take the matter of keeping the Batemans Bay ED open to Parliament and they already have in excess of 3,000.
“We’re quietly confident,” Mr Ryan said.
Ms Phillips said the closure of the Batemans Bay Emergency Department was a state government issue.
“The clinical services plan that was developed some years ago and before the current state government, decided to build one new hospital and have a higher level of service, meaning less people would need to travel really long distances to Canberra, Sydney and further afield as well for treatment,” Ms Phillips said.
“One Level 4 hospital allows for intensive care and greater services closer to home for more people and I think we’ve got to think of the future for that,” she said.
“At a federal level I’m always trying to get as many services in for the community and that’s why this urgent care clinic is so important.”
Dr Holland told East Coast Radio maintaining two emergency departments 20-30 minutes apart would mean the Intensive Care Unit and many of the Level 4 services intended for the new Eurobodalla Regional Hospital would be lost.
“I can say unequivocally that both Emergency Departments at Batemans Bay and Moruya will close when the new hospital opens.”
“There’s been many community forums held explaining to people that all along Batemans Bay and Moruya hospitals would both close to produce a great new Level 4 service in the Eurobodalla.”
Chief Executive Officer of COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN, Prudence Buist, said she had worked closely with both the Australian Government and Southern NSW Local Health District to ensure this Medicare UCC will meet the needs of the Eurobodalla community.
“It will be free to attend the clinic so if you or a member of your family have a deep cut, closed fracture, simple eye injury, ear infection or minor burn, we recommend you head straight to the Batemans Bay Medicare Urgent Care Clinic,” Ms Buist said.
“People who require emergency and life-saving care should go directly to the emergency department, however with the clinic co-located, staff will be able to direct people to the appropriate care service,” she said.
“If you have a Medicare card or number, ensure you bring it with you when you visit either the Medicare UCC or emergency.”
The Batemans Bay clinic is one of the 14 Medicare UCCs scheduled to open this year across New South Wales including Albury, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Gosford, Lismore, Penrith, Randwick, Tamworth, Westmead, Wollongong and Wyong.
Images: COORDINARE, Google