Pictured: Mr Joyce and health staff at the COVID-19 respiratory clinic in Tamworth which is due to open on Thursday. Book online or by calling 6768 3222.
The New England’s first GP-led respiratory clinic, established as part of the Australian Government’s $2.4 billion health package to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, will open in Tamworth on Thursday.
The Federal Government is establishing 100 GP-led respiratory clinics around the country to assess patients with mild to moderate COVID-19-like symptoms. The clinics will reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments and other local general practices.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the Tamworth clinic is best placed to support people with COVID respiratory symptoms while avoiding the risk of infection in other members of the community.
“From the early beginnings of the local COVID-19 outbreak, I have been pushing to secure a respiratory clinic here in the New England and now we have our first,” Mr Joyce said.
“We are fortunate that infection numbers have now stabilised and the urgency for these services is not as great as it once was.
“Temporary testing centres run by Hunter New England Health have performed a great job in the interim before more long-term measures like this respiratory clinic, were established.
“In the months ahead, it is essential we’re able to isolate suspected COVID cases from regular GP practices and ease the strain on our medical system.
“I encourage anyone in our community experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat or other symptoms to get it checked out by firstly calling the respiratory clinic or going online to book an appointment.”
The Federal Government has been working with local GPs and Aspen Medical - which has significant health emergency management experience in Australia and overseas - to roll out the Tamworth clinic.
Federal Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton, said the dedicated respiratory clinics are being set up across the nation as part of the Australian Government’s response to the outbreak.
“We are putting in place a range of measures including additional practice incentives and the expansion of telehealth to enable the rural medical workforce to continue to care for regional Australians through this crisis,” Minister Coulton said.
More than 300 fever clinics, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments, are already in operation across Australia.