The Australian government has announced plans to open two Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (UCCs) in south-west Sydney.

Located in Fairfield and Liverpool respectively, the clinics will operate seven days a week, offering extended hours and no-appointment-necessary services.

They aim to address the healthcare demands of the local population and will be fully bulk-billed, allowing patients to access a range of healthcare services quickly by presenting their Medicare cards.

The Fairfield area was chosen with the aim of relieving the burden on Fairfield Hospital after a series of discussions with the New South Wales (NSW) state government.

The Liverpool Urgent Care Service will transition to a Medicare UCC as part of the government’s national strategy to decrease emergency department visits for urgent but non-critical conditions.

Both Medicare UCCs will treat conditions that are urgent but not life-threatening, including infections, sprains and cuts.

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From 2022 to last year, Fairfield Hospital treated 55% of its patients for semi-urgent or non-urgent issues, while 23% of patients presenting at Liverpool Hospital were seeking treatment for such conditions.

The South Western Sydney Primary Health Network will oversee the commissioning of both clinics.

The exact location for the Fairfield Medicare UCC will be determined through an upcoming expression of interest process.

Australian Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said: “Almost a third of all visits to Medicare UCCs in New South Wales are from people under 15, giving parents peace of mind that when their kid needs urgent care, they’ll be seen.

“These clinics will ease pressure on the emergency departments at Fairfield Hospital and Liverpool Hospital, freeing staff to provide care to people with more serious conditions.”

Since the first Medicare UCCs opened in June last year, they have collectively received more than 440,000 visits, with nearly 75,000 of these in NSW.