Warragul will be the location of the first respiratory clinic in Gippsland.

Federal member for Monash Russell Broadbent has welcomed the opening of the clinic on Monday 27 April as part of the Australian Government’s $2.4 billion health package to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Located at 197-199 Sutton Street in Warragul Mr Broadbent said the Government has committed to establishing up to 100 GP-led respiratory clinics around the country to assess patients with mild to moderate COVID-19-like symptoms.

“To date we can be grateful that the coronavirus has not been widespread in our region, however it’s important we have local doctors in our communities available and ready to lead the local response should the virus take hold and start to spread quickly,” Mr Broadbent said.

“Respiratory clinics will be best placed to support people with fever, cough, sore throat, and other respiratory symptoms and avoiding the risk of infection in the communities.

“They will also help to reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments and other general practices.

“I encourage anyone in the community experiencing symptoms to call the clinic or go online to book an appointment.

“The Government is focused on ensuring rural and regional communities are prepared to respond to this pandemic. That’s why 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 rural people,” Mr Broadbent said.

The Government is investing $206.7 million to establish up to 100 respiratory clinics across Australia, including in rural and regional areas in each state and territory. To access a clinic, people can visit www.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 at health.gov.au 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.