The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement that it will fast track the opening of 20 GP respiratory clinics.
The clinics will be opened in COVID-19 hotspots across Melbourne under a $23.8m state government initiative, providing COVID-19 testing and treatment services for more than 350 patients suffering respiratory symptoms each week. The new clinics are scheduled to be opened in three to six weeks.
RACGP Victoria Chair Dr Anita Munoz welcomed the announcement.
“The Department of Health sought our input in designing a system to manange respiratory presentations in the community,” she said.
“The new GP respiratory clinics will help ease the burden on emergency departments, which have been under a great deal of pressure, and support patients experiencing respiratory symptoms.
“The RACGP has been consulting closely with government on this initiative.
“We recognised the need, not all GP practices are set up to see patients experiencing respiratory symptoms – these clinics will allow such patients to not only get a COVID-19 test, which is critical, but also receive treatment.
“So, GPs who can’t see patients with respiratory symptoms in their own practice will be able to refer them to one of the new GP respiratory clinics. It will make a big difference for patients, particularly families with young children who will be mixing more with friends and may catch coughs and colds.
“With case numbers still concerningly high in Victoria, our health system faces increasing pressure, as more people will inevitably end up in emergency departments. This initiative couldn’t come at a more critical time.
“I want to thank Victorian GPs and practice teams for their efforts. It has been a very challenging time, but you’ve risen to the challenge and are doing a great job managing COVID-19, rolling out vaccines, and ensuring ongoing care to patients. Well done and keep up the good work.”