The Australian Government has opened a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) in Elizabeth, South Australia (SA), as part of a commitment to establish five UCCs in the region.

Operated by the Elizabeth Medical and Dental Centre, the Elizabeth Medicare UCC will offer extended hours of operation seven days a week and provide bulk-billed walk-in treatment for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

The facility is complemented by an A$10m ($6.28m) investment from the federal government to the SA Government under the Primary Care Pilot initiative.

Under this initiative, the state government has partnered with Healthdirect to create a navigation tool to connect people with urgent care services, as well as a GP medical escalation service to provide access to a virtual GP appointment.

These services aim to redirect non-life-threatening cases away from emergency departments.

The other planned Medicare UCCs for the region will be located in Western Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Marion and Outer Southern Adelaide.

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The five new UCCs are intended to reduce the burden on local hospitals by offering urgent care.

They are each set to open by the end of this year.

Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said: “Improving access to health care across Australia – and especially in regional and rural areas – is a key priority for the Australian Government.

“The Elizabeth Medicare UCC is going to make a big difference to patients across the Outer Northern Adelaide area. Local communities will be able to walk in, see a doctor or nurse and access imaging and pathology services.

“At the same time, the South Australian Primary Care Pilot will make it easier for South Australians to receive health care where and when they need it.

“The Albanese Government is committed to strengthening Medicare and making it easier and cheaper to get quality healthcare, by tripling the bulk billing incentive and making medicines cheaper.”