The Australian Government has opened the Rockhampton Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) in Queensland, as part of plans to establish 11 UCCs in the state.

The UCC aims to reduce patient presentations at Rockhampton Hospital, allowing it to focus on higher-priority emergencies.

More than 35% of Rockhampton Hospital presentations require semi-urgent or non-urgent care.

Rockhampton Central Medical Centre on Yaamba Road has been set up as the Rockhampton Medicare UCC, which will operate for extended hours seven days a week.

Australian Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said: “The Rockhampton Medicare UCC is going to make a big difference to patients in the greater Rockhampton area.

“Local communities will be able to walk in, see a doctor or nurse and access imaging and pathology services.

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“This Medicare UCC will ease pressure on local EDs and be much more convenient for our communities – closer to home, at short notice, and bulk billed under Medicare.”

The other Medicare UCCs in Queensland will be in Bundaberg, Cairns, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan (Browns Plains), Northern Brisbane, Murrumba Downs (Redcliffe), Southern Brisbane, Toowoomba and Townsville.

To launch these clinics, the Australian Government will work with the state government and the Queensland Primary Health Alliance.

Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said: “We know that Rockhampton families deserve free, high-quality healthcare close to home – and that’s exactly what the new Medicare Urgent Care Clinic will provide.

“Urgent Care Clinics are designed to take pressures off our health system and GPs by being an accessible and community-based alternative to busy hospitals.”

Earlier this month, a Medicare UCC was opened in Batesman Bay, New South Wales.

The clinic will remain open for extended hours every day to alleviate the burden of local hospitals.

Its opening followed that of a Medicare UCC in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.