First GP-led respiratory clinic opens in Townsville to boost COVID-19 response
The first Australian Government-funded GP-led respiratory clinic in Townsville has opened to support local GPs with patients who require further assessment and testing for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Townsville Respiratory Clinic will assess, test, and diagnose community members experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms (a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or unusual fatigue). Community members will be directed back to their usual GP for ongoing care.
The Upper Ross Medical Centre will run the new clinic from its Rasmussen site, which will be staffed from Monday to Saturday by an expert medical team of doctors and nurses, supported by auxiliary practice support staff.
GP-led and supported by Northern Queensland Primary Health Network, the Townsville Respiratory Clinic is one of several GP respiratory clinics for the North Queensland region, with a Mackay clinic having opened last week, and others due to be established in Cairns and Charters Towers over the coming weeks.
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said the establishment of the respiratory clinic in Townsville – one of 100 respiratory clinics to be set up across Australia – was a key milestone in local efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
“This local clinic is an important step to ensuring people who have those concerning symptoms – like fever, cough and sore throat – can get the testing and treatment they need and avoid the risk of infection in our community,” Mr Thompson said.
“It’s great that local health services have been able to work with the Federal Government to deliver this important health service.
“The assessment and testing of potential COVID-19 patients as soon as possible is vital to prevent the further spread of the virus, which is exactly what this clinic will do.”
Mr Thompson said the Townsville Respiratory Clinic will support Queensland’s response to COVID-19, build the capacity of the local health system, and reduce pressure on hospitals and frontline health workers.
“This isn’t just about testing – this clinic will be staffed by GPs, and provide full assessment and management plans for patients who are concerned they may have COVID-19,” he said.
“It will complement and expand on the existing testing service that’s been established by the local hospital and health service.”
Upper Ross Medical Centre Director Dr Martin Perez Gonzalez said the clinic will support assessment by a GP and onsite testing for COVID-19 where patients meet the testing criteria.
“Patients who present to the clinic who meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing will be tested accordingly, with results to be sent to their usual GP,” said Dr Perez Gonzalez.
“Patients will be provided initial advice for any condition diagnosed during the appointment, after which ongoing care will transition back to their regular GP.
“We are here to clinically examine and assess the patient face to face for their regular GP. We all want our patients, staff, and community general practice to stay safe.
“Respiratory clinic services, which are being run by GPs for the community, will be provided at no cost to the patient.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to reassure all of our patients at Upper Ross Medical Centre that they will be able to continue to see their usual GP at the Pinnacle Medical Centre for the duration of the Respiratory Clinic.”
If a patient tests positive, the patient will be referred to the local Public Health Unit, while a negative result will see the patient notified of the result by staff at Townsville Respiratory Clinic.
Mr Thompson also urged the Townsville community to download the COVIDSafe app, which provides quicker contact tracing for COVID-19, essential for containing the spread of the virus.
“The app is a key tool in building on the great work already done by health workers and the community to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
“The app is completely safe, your privacy is guaranteed, and it can only be used for contact tracing.
“I would encourage locals to join the millions of other Australians by using this app for the good of yourself, your family, and the wider community.”
Townsville Respiratory Clinic
Upper Ross Medical Centre
1199 Riverway Drive,
Rasmussen Qld 4815
Phone: (07) 4774 0299
Fax: (07) 4789 0267
E: [email protected]
HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT: Community members experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or fatigue can book an appointment at Townsville Respiratory Clinic by calling (07) 4774 0299 or online at www.urmc.com.au
Monday–Friday: 8am – 5pm
Saturday: 8am – 12pm