The Cairns South Medicare UCC will open to patients with urgent non-life-threatening conditions

Nurse Andrea Mosbauer attends to Natalie Shand at the Cairns South Urgent Care Clinic, next to Balance! Edmonton Family Practice.

Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN), together with the Federal Government, is pleased to announce that Balance! Edmonton Family Practice will establish the Cairns South Medicare Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) and intends to start seeing patients from 19 December 2023.

The Cairns South Medicare UCC will be located next to Balance! Edmonton Family Practice at 5b Walker Rd, Edmonton, and will be open seven days a week, including public holidays.

For the first month, the Cairns South Medicare UCC will open:

  • Monday – Friday: 12pm – 8pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 6pm
  • Christmas Day and Boxing Day: 3pm – 8pm

Hours will be extended after this period.

Residents impacted by the effects of ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and floods, and who may require urgent care, will be able to visit the Cairns South Medicare Urgent Care Clinic.

It will be bulk-billed and offer walk-in care to treat urgent non-life-threatening conditions that can be managed without a trip to the emergency department but cannot wait for a regular appointment with a GP.

The Cairns South Medicare UCC will help ease pressure on the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (HHS) emergency department (ED) by treating urgent conditions such as minor infections and cuts, basic fractures, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and gastroenteritis. The Cairns South Medicare UCC will have agreed referral pathways with the Cairns Hospital so that if patients of the clinic deteriorate, they can be transferred to the Cairns Hospital ED.

NQPHN welcomed the Department of Health and Aged Care’s announcement earlier this year that, of the 58 Medicare UCCs across Australia, one would be in Cairns. Eleven Medicare UCCs are currently being rolled out in Queensland, including another northern Queensland clinic in Townsville.

NQPHN CEO Sean Rooney said NQPHN had worked with local service providers and the Cairns and Hinterland HHS to localise the national initiative.

“We know there is a real need for an urgent care clinic in Cairns and it is our priority to make sure residents have access to the primary health care they need, while also reducing pressure on the hospital’s emergency department,” Mr Rooney said.

Balance! Edmonton Family Practice was selected as the lead provider following a rigorous select tender process and is well equipped to meet the urgent health care needs of residents in Cairns, especially for the growing southern suburbs and surrounding communities where extended-hours health care is limited.

Balance! Healthcare Founder and Director Kate Gunn said the Cairns South Medicare UCC would assist with timely access to care, reduced burden on emergency services, and healthier outcomes for patients.

“This Cairns South Medicare Urgent Care Clinic represents a critical safety net for our region, filling the gap between primary care and the emergency room and providing peace of mind to our community members,” Ms Gunn said.

“Our team feels a profound sense of purpose and responsibility in establishing the Cairns South Medicare Urgent Care Clinic. It’s a heartfelt commitment to the wellbeing of every individual who calls Cairns home, especially in the southern corridor.”