Call to aid WA’s stretched health services

Geraldton Guardian
Geraldton Regional Hospital would be the site of one of the Commonwealth’s promised regional respiratory clinics.
Camera IconGeraldton Regional Hospital would be the site of one of the Commonwealth’s promised regional respiratory clinics. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

The Federal Government should fast-track new respiratory clinics in Geraldton and other regional centres to ease the burden on already-stretched State health services dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to WA Nationals.

Leader Mia Davies has written to Regional Health minister Mark Coulton asking for general practitioner-based clinics promised as part of a $206.7 million package to be implemented across the nation.

“The Minister said 10 regional clinics would be rolled out in regional WA,” she said.

“We believe as a priority there should be facilities in Kununurra, South Hedland, Karratha, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Busselton, Albany and Esperance.

“All these locations already have hospital and other professional medical services which would be complimented by Federally funded but locally run respiratory clinics.”

Ms Davies said these major regional centres were likely to see a spike in demand as the disease spread.

“The Federal Government has advised that clinics will be established in dedicated premises and receive up to $150,000 in set-up funding,” she said.

“They will also be funded to assess, test and diagnose respiratory cases including COVID-19, influenza and pneumonia.”

Ms Davies said assessments would be conducted by GPs or nurses under GP supervision.

Patients would 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 were going.

Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney said locations had been identified because of their ability to be accessed by surrounding communities and proximity to emergency health services if cases escalated.

“We have seen how the virus can quickly spread in the regions, posing a risk to our ability to contain it and to the health of susceptible members of the community, he said.

“Establishing respiratory clinics will relieve pressure on Geraldton hospitals and emergency departments and ensure a stronger frontline response to COVID-19.”

Member for Durack Melissa Price and WA Health minister Roger Cook have been contacted for comment.

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