Work has started on the new $2.9 million nurse-led Walk-in Centre in Gungahlin, which will be the third of its kind in Canberra to offer free one-off treatment for people with minor illness and injury.
The other Walk-in Centres, which are popular but criticised as being too expensive by the Opposition and doctors’ groups, are in Tuggeranong and Belconnen.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris said the new Walk-in Centre would be co-located with the existing Gungahlin Community Health Centre on Ernest Cavanagh Street.
“It will provide the community with access to high quality, extended hour health care services, closer to where they live,” she said.
The centre is due to open in the third quarter of 2018 with a team of Advanced Practice Nurses.
She said designs for the centre were complete and approved, and based on the successful design of the Belconnen Walk-in Centre, which has been operating since July 2014.
The Gungahlin Walk-in Centre would feature four treatment rooms, a high ceiling corridor to let natural light into the building, and easy access from the public car park.
Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation ACT welcomed the new Walk-in Centre.
“The ANMF ACT Branch welcomes the development of a new Walk-in Centre at Gungahlin that will provide access to free health services to people in Canberra’s north. Our highly skilled ACT Nurses are well placed to provide these services, including wound care, treating minor skin conditions and upper respiratory tract infections,” said ANMF ACT Branch Secretary Matthew Daniel.
Ms Fitzharris said Canberrans needed after-hours options and Walk-in Centres provided an alternative to other public health services and complement the other services on offer.
“Walk-in Centre nurses can provide referrals and updates back to a patient’s GP to enable them to continue providing treatment and advice for these patients’ ongoing health needs,” she said.
“We are committed to delivering person-centred, safe and effective care, with the appropriate health infrastructure to meet the future needs of our community. Delivering more Walk-in Centres across our city is a key part of this.”
Opposition health spokesperson Vicki Dunne said the Walk-in Centres operated under a failed financial model and would undermine the established GP clinics in Gungahlin.
“The reality is, every visit will cost the taxpayer $188, a fact Minister Fitzharris has failed to disclose,” she said.
For more information visit: www.walkincentre.act.gov.au