ACT Labor to double funding to expand Nurse led Walk-in Centres

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Background

The ACT Labor Government opened Australia’s first nurse-led Walk-in Centre (WiC) on Tuesday 18th May 2010 located at the Canberra Hospital campus.  The WiC offers a free health service for minor illnesses and injuries and is open 7 days a week 7am-11pm.

Between its opening in May 2010 and the end of May 2012, 32,924 people attended the Walk-in Centre. Patient satisfaction with the Walk-in Centre is high, with 84 percent saying they would recommend it to their family and friends.

ACT Labor believes that the WiC has filled a gap in the delivery of free extended hours health care services across the Territory. The GP shortage and low bulk-billing rates mean that some Canberra families struggle to find affordable primary health care out of standard business hours and for some people the WiC has filled the gap.

Health care costs can be a significant burden on the family budget, especially for those unforeseen accidents, injuries or sicknesses. ACT Labor believes that WiCs can assist Canberrans by easing the pressure of out of pocket expenses and through treating the condition.

If re-elected in 2012 ACT Labor will double the current budget for the WiC and expand the nurse-led Walk-in-Centre to community locations in Belconnen and Tuggeranong

ACT Labor’s first-ever Australian public Walk-in Centre is currently located at Canberra Hospital.

ACT Labor believes that this innovative, nurse-led model would work well within other community health settings, particularly given patients generally do not need to be treated on a hospital campus and that people should be able to access these services close to where they live.

Opening two WiCs in Belconnen and Tuggeranong will ensure that people on the north and south of Canberra have easy access to a highly skilled nursing service.

If these centres are to be as successful as possible ACT Labor understands that we will need to work with and consult with local GPs and consumers on the preferred model for establishing these services in the community.

New community health facilities are currently underway in both of these locations and whilst the nurse-led Walk-in-Centre could operate out of these locations, ACT Labor would like to deliver this commitment with the agreement of local GPs, other health professionals and consumers to ensure the most efficient and effective use of the resources, workforce and skills.

Policy costings

If re-elected ACT Labor will provide an additional $2.5 million per annum to double the current capacity and open the new centres in the community.

A further $5 million will be provided towards additional capital costs.

ACT Labors plan to expand nurse-led Walk-in Centres in Belconnen and Tuggeranong.

 

2013 – 2014

2014 -2015

2015 – 2016

2016 – 2017

TOTAL

Recurrent funding

$2.5 million

$2.5 million

$2.5 million

$2.5 million

$10million

Capital        

$5 million

Total

$2.5 million

$2.5 million

$2.5 million

$2.5 million

$15 million

How they work

The Walk-in Centre model provides timely and convenient access to health care for treatment of minor illnesses and injuries.

Its aim is to fulfill an unmet healthcare need in the community, better meet projected demand for health care services, and relieve pressure on other health services.

The Walk-in Centre does not replace GP care, rather the Centre complements other primary health care services.  It provides another choice for people to get one off treatment for minor injuries and illnesses.

The Walk-in Centre staff routinely communicate with the patient’s regular doctor to ensure continuity of care, and will refer to other health care providers where appropriate.

Walk-in Centre staff are able to order x-rays, provide certain medications for common conditions, and provide treatment for illnesses such as cuts, abrasions, coughs and colds for anyone over the age of 2 years.

Workforce

The Walk-in Centre employs Nurse Practitioners, Advanced Practice Nurses and administration staff.

ACT Labor believes that providing additional opportunities for highly skilled nursing staff to work in an autonomous environment supports ACT Labor’s vision for a highly-skilled health workforce.

This provides opportunity for innovation and skill development and appropriate career paths.

This model helps attract and retain nurses in the ACT, by creating new career opportunities and by fully utilising their skills.

Feedback from patients who have used the Walk in Centre

Since its opening in May 2010, the WiC has been well received by the community with 80% of patients reporting they were very satisfied with the treatment or advice the nurse gave them.  84% said they would definitely recommend the WiC to their family and friends. (Independent evaluation of the nurse-led ACT Health Walk-in Centre, June/July 2011)

Many people have provided positive feedback about the speed with which they were seen, the comprehensive nature of the consultations, and the helpful nature and professionalism of nursing staff. Others were grateful that the Centre provided high level services at no charge. Interstate patients have also commented that they wish such a service was available in their home town.

Here are some other things people have said about our first Walk-in Centre:

I just wanted to say that this is an important and fantastic service to fill a major gap in the ACT health delivery, thankyou.

Thank goodness someone has finally seen the need for this service and to have extended hours.  These nurses and admin staff are providing a gift and I believe this needs to continue.

Great, quick and friendly service, the staff were extremely helpful and their operations were quick and efficient.

Great service that started from the receptionist to the nurse.  Very thorough and informative consultation.

Excellent facility we could not access our regular GP and this service is great please continue this clinic, as the mother of three young children, it is a comfort to know I can get care for my children if outside my GPs normal business hours.  Thankyou.