Monday, June 6, 2011

ACT Walk-in Centre

The Walk in Centre celebrated its first anniversary a few weeks ago.

13,420 people have presented to the Walk-in Centre over the last 12 months, seeing on average 40 patients per day and over 250 a week. Of this, nurses at the clinic have treated around 10,000 people.

There has been media around the perception that the walk in centre has increased the presentations to the Emergency Department at The Canberra Hospital.  Of this the  Minister said:
Around 20 per cent are referred to general practice, and the numbers referred to the emergency department are changing as the walk-in centre develops and matures. It has been hanging around six to seven per cent. I understand in the last few months it has been about 3½ per cent.

HCCA spoke to the ABC about this issue recently.  There are details on the ABC website including an interview Darlene Cox did with ABC Canberra presenter, Alex Sloane.

There was discussion in Budget estimates in May about the cost per patient.  The Minister responded:
The advice I have is at the end of March the average cost was around $120 per patient. Obviously, as they are seeing more patients, their costs are coming down. In comparison, the cost of treatment of someone in the emergency department is in the order of $400. I think it is a useful measure to have a look at cost, but if we provided that as the only way of working out whether anything is a success, we would not do a lot things in the health system, I can tell you.

The Hansard for Budget Estimates for 18 May 2011 is available on line as a pdf.

HCCA is very supportive of extending the walk in Centre model to the Community Health Centres in town centres. This is an aspiration of the Government.  The Government is building capacity for walk-in centres in the Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin Community Health Centres.

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