‘Far more successful than we envisaged’: PM on MUCCs

3 minute read

Prime Minister Albanese has revealed the government is looking to expand the Medicare Urgent Care Clinics program beyond the planned 58 promised to open this year.

As the federal government edges closer to delivering all of its promised Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has foreshadowed expanding the program further in 2024.

He used the media conference after the National Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to sing the praises of Australia’s newly minted MUCCs.

He was asked whether extra health funding granted to the states and territories would mean more clinics or more money to existing clinics.

“It means more clinics,” said Mr Albanese.

“We will have the 58 urgent care clinics that we promised, open by the end of this year as we promised to do so.

“And they are making an enormous difference. Every person who goes into an urgent care clinic is one less person in the emergency department of a hospital.

“Not only is that good for the hospitals and their workforce, it actually makes economic sense because this is more efficient.”

Mr Albanese went on to say that finances and workforce aside, it was – just as importantly – good for patients.

“So, when little Johnny or Mary falls off the bike, instead of waiting for hours at an ED, because quite rightly, life-threatening cases jump ahead, they get the care they need, when they need it and all they need is a Medicare card,” he said.

“This has been far more successful than we envisaged. That’s the truth. It has made an enormous difference already and we are very proud and that’s why we want to look at extending it into some areas that haven’t currently got access to it.”

The news followed the government announcement that a provider for the Midland MUCC in Western Australia had been finalised, following an EOI process.

North Street Medical Centre will be established as the Midland MUCC and is expected to start seeing patients this month.

The Midland MUCC will be open for extended hours, 7 days a week, and offer walk-in care that is fully bulk billed.
More than 35% of presentations to the St John of God Midland Public Hospital are for non-urgent or semi-urgent care, according to the federal government.
The Midland clinic is one of seven Medicare UCCs in Western Australia – located in Beeliar, Broome, Bunbury, Clarkson, Perth City and Rockingham.

MUCC countdown: And then there were 10

Another day, another new Medicare urgent clinic

More MUCC providers announced

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler said the government was working closely with the WA Primary Health Alliance and the Western Australian Government to deliver the remaining Medicare UCCs.

There are now just nine MUCCs left to be announced around the country to reach the national target of 58 by the end of the year.

“The Midland Medicare UCC will mean people in this community who need urgent but not acute care, can get it quickly even if it’s outside standard hours – and all they’ll need is their Medicare card,” said Mr Butler.
“This clinic will ease pressure on the St John of God Midland Public Hospital, allowing them to concentrate on higher priority emergencies.”
Federal Labor MP for Hasluck Tania Lawrence said the Midland MUCC was “going to make a big difference to patients in my community”.
“I know many families who have had to wait long hours at the St John of God Midland emergency department for non-life-threatening issues,” she said.
“This Medicare UCC will ease pressure on our local EDs and be much more convenient for our communities – closer to home, at short notice, and bulk billed under Medicare.”

The Department of Health and Aged Care lists all the available MUCCs here.  

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