The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has announced the integration of its Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (Medicare UCCs) network with the Canberra Health Services’s Walk-in centres.

The initiative includes adding new nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers and equipment to address a wider range of medical conditions.

These expanded services are due to be fully operational by early next year. The walk-in clinics will be open seven days a week and will offer bulk billing.

This initiative aims to ease the burden on Canberra Hospital and North Canberra Hospital, as many of the patients treated there are considered semi or non-urgent.

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr said: “We know Canberrans value the services provided at our nurse-led Walk-in centres, providing free public healthcare seven days a week.

“This investment from the Commonwealth Government will provide even more treatment and care options closer to people’s homes and will help to reduce the pressure on our emergency departments.

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“The extension of services to be offered at the Weston Creek walk-in centre will see Canberrans able to receive assessment, medical imaging and treatment for a minor injury all in the same location, without the need to go to the hospital.

“We will continue to work closely with community-based health services, including general practitioners, to ensure we are delivering an integrated health system where Canberrans can access the right care in the right place and at the right time.”

The Commonwealth will contribute A$7.1m ($4.4m) over the course of three years to support recruitment and new equipment.

The funding will allow three new nurse practitioners and three new advance practice nurses to begin working at the walk-in centres.

The Weston Creek Walk-in Centre will also receive an advanced-scope physiotherapist specialising in musculoskeletal injuries while radiographer and sonographer roles will be created at the Weston Creek Medical Imaging Service.