Patients with respiratory symptoms will have improved access to care and treatment through an expansion of Adelaide’s GP Respiratory Clinics – in yet another measure to help ease pressure on emergency departments this winter.
Pooraka is the first of four clinics across Adelaide that will be able to assess people experiencing mild to moderate respiratory symptoms without the need for a referral, making it easier for patients to seek out care.
Children and adults with conditions such as asthma and tonsillitis who would otherwise have to wait to see their usual GP will also benefit. The expanded sites offer real-time booking online which will be found here.
Latest data shows that South Australian GP wait times have increased by 49 per cent over the past two years to an average four-day wait, largely due to workforce and funding pressures under the former Federal Government.
These changes will help ease that pressure by increasing capacity for same-day appointments and allow hundreds of patients to be seen each week through face-to-face and telehealth appointments.
The GP Respiratory Clinics were initially established for COVID-19 testing, vaccination and assessment only in April 2020. Treatment for COVID-positive patients will continue at each site, in addition to the expanded services.
The new SA Health Respiratory Pathway will also be offered at Parkside, Athelstone and Old Reynella. The sites will open over the coming weeks and aim to provide a seven-day service until the end of September.
The Malinauskas Government has invested $700,000 to set up the expanded program which has been developed with the Adelaide Primary Health Network.
Changes to antiviral accessibility are also underway; from Monday, 10 July the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 will ensure all patients who ring up are assessed for eligibility and then advised how to get antiviral treatments.
SA Health is working closely to boost the number of GPs and pharmacists available to help patients learn more about antiviral treatment.
It comes as new SA Ambulance Service data released monthly by the State Government shows that ramping for June 2022 was 3838 hours. This highlights how the Liberals’ neglect of our health system over the past four years is now significantly impacting health services as COVID, flu cases and winter ills increase.
This Government has taken immediate steps to reverse that neglect by already opening more than 200 extra beds across the system to create more capacity, as part of a record $2.4 billion investment in health services – which includes more than 500 beds as well as hundreds more doctors and nurses.
Attributable to Chris Picton
Expanding these clinics to include people with respiratory symptoms will make it much easier for all patients to get treatment and take pressure off our GPs.
If you or your child have flu-like symptoms and need help – but can’t get into a GP – then you will be able to go online and book into one of these sites for assistance.
This is just one measure we are doing right now to boost capacity and combat the pressure our hospital system is facing amid rising flu and COVID cases this winter.
Attributable to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Emily Kirkpatrick
The new SA Health Respiratory Pathway will provide specialised care to patients with respiratory conditions who cannot seek face-to-face care with their usual GP.
These clinics offer face-to-face assessment of symptoms and initial advice, with ongoing care transitioned back to their GP following the appointment.
The expanded sites deliver a streamlined system that supports real-time booking which has online access open 30 minutes until booking time.
Attributable to Adelaide Primary Health Network Executive Manager Commissioning and Compliance Malcolm Ellis
With the significant pressures being felt across the health system and particularly in General Practice, Adelaide PHN is pleased to be partnering with GP Respiratory Clinics and SA Health.
Being able to increase capacity in primary care for same-day appointments for respiratory illnesses during winter will clearly benefit our patients.
Adelaide PHN has been supporting the four clinics since their establishment in April 2020 and helped them to adapt to their evolving role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including examining symptomatic patients, administering vaccinations and caring for COVID-positive patients.