Each year, thousands of presentations to hospital emergency departments are categorised as semi-urgent or non-urgent and could be treated in the primary care system. The Australian Government is funding 58 Medicare UCCs across Australia to help ease this pressure, leaving hospitals to concentrate on higher-priority emergencies.
The first of 11 Queensland Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (UCCs) was opened in Logan on Monday 14 August 2023, with a second Medicare UCC for the Brisbane South PHN region set to open in South Brisbane by mid-October 2023.
The following information is provided for GPs and general practice staff to support patient navigation and access to urgent care services.
Where are Medicare Urgent Care Clinics located in our region?
There are 2 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (UCCs) located in the Brisbane South PHN region.
The Logan clinic, Browns Plains Medicare Urgent Care Clinic, is operated by Browns Plains Medical and Dental Centre and is located at 2-10 Grand Plaza Dr, Browns Plains QLD 4118. Their Urgent Care Clinic is open 7 days a week, from 8am until 8pm (open time extending to 10pm from October 2023).
The second, South Brisbane Medicare Urgent Care Clinic, is preparing to open in mid-October 2023 (more details to be released soon).
Who can access ‘urgent care’?
Any person can access urgent care when they need medical attention for an illness or injury that can be managed without a trip to the emergency department but cannot wait for a regular appointment with their usual GP.
Medicare UCCs provide acute episodic care and treatment that does not require admission to a hospital. This may include:
- minor infections
- minor fractures, sprains, sports injuries and neck and back pain
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- stitches and glue for minor cuts
- insect bites and rashes
- minor eye and ear problems
- respiratory illness
- mild burns.
Medicare UCCs won’t be able to see people for major trauma or complex conditions. Browns Plains Medicare UCC will have an agreed escalation pathway in place with Logan Hospital Emergency Department.
There are limited MBS items accessible at the Medicare UCC, limited to the scope of delivering urgent care. Should a presentation not require urgent care, patients will be referred back to the GP nominated by them as their usual GP for further assessment and management.
Can I refer patients to a Medicare UCC?
Yes, if the issue is an urgent care matter as outlined above, you can provide patients with the contact details of the closest Medicare UCC. However, patients do not need a referral to attend a Medicare UCC. Walk-ins and patient bookings are accepted for urgent care 7 days a week.
Will my patients go to a Medicare UCC instead of coming to my practice?
No. There are limited MBS items that patients can access at the Medicare UCC and the patient’s usual GP is still the first point of contact for non-emergency, routine and preventative health care. Medicare UCCs won’t be able to see people for things like chronic disease management or preventive health procedures such as cervical screening tests. A patient attending a Medicare UCC for non-emergency, routine or preventative health care will be referred back to their nominated usual GP.
Will I know if one of my patients has received care at a Medicare UCC?
Yes. Any patient attending a Medicare UCC will have a discharge summary issued. The summary will be:
- uploaded into My Health Record (unless requested not to do so by the patient)
- electronically provided to the patient’s nominated usual GP/practice within 24 hours.
If electronic transfer is not possible or the patient does not name a usual GP, the patient will be given a hard copy of the discharge summary.
The Medicare UCC will also advise the patient’s nominated usual GP of any test results.
Will immediate diagnostic imaging and pathology services be available to patients attending the Medicare UCC?
Yes, the Browns Plains Medicare UCC will have arrangements in place with diagnostic imaging and laboratory-based pathology services in close proximity. Please refer to their website for hours of operation.
How much will it cost to attend a Medicare UCC?
Medicare UCCs will provide urgent health care with no out-of-pocket costs for patients. Any diagnostic services, such as radiology and pathology, will also be provided with no out-of-pocket costs for patients.
See the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website:
Read the media release from Hon. Mark Butler MP:
Medicare Urgent Care Clinic Opens in Logan
Visit the Browns Plains Medicare Urgent Care Clinic website: https://www.forhealthbrownsplains.com.au/urgent-care-clinic/