A new Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (Medicare UCC) has opened to patients in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia.

The new facility at the Northside Shopping Complex is open seven days a week for extended hours, offering walk-in care and bulk billing.

Being operated by the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, the clinic will cater to the urgent care requirements of Alice Springs residents.

It will offer episodic care for urgent cases that are not non-life-threatening. 

Plans for the Alice Springs Medicare UCC along with a similar facility in Palmerston were announced in May 2023 to boost urgent care access in non-hospital settings.

Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said: “The Alice Springs Medicare UCC will make a big difference to local patients who will be able to walk in during extended hours and receive convenient, high-quality care from a nurse or a doctor. The clinic will ensure families in the Northern Territory 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.”

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This development forms part of the Australian Government’s goal to reduce the burden on local hospitals so that they can focus on emergencies. 

In 2021–2022, nearly half of Alice Springs emergency unit cases were linked to non-urgent or semi-urgent care.

Assistant Minister Malarndirri McCarthy stated: “Patients can walk in without an appointment, see a doctor or nurse and access imaging and pathology services. The clinic will ease pressure on the Alice Springs Hospital, so that so that their hard-working doctors and nurses can focus on higher priority emergencies.”