On Monday 26 September, Victoria’s first Priority Primary Care Centre (PPCC) opened its doors in Epping, just a stone’s throw from the Northern Hospital. The State-funded GP-led centre aims to improve access to primary care, particularly in the after-hours period, and ease pressure on emergency departments. Patients will not be charged for services provided by GPs and be able to access care with or without a Medicare card.
Last Thursday, Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny MP, and staff from, the Northern Hospital, Eastern Melbourne PHN, North Western Melbourne PHN and South Eastern Melbourne PHN visited the new centre which is run by ForHealth.
At Epping PPCC, we were joined by Jane Barker, a patient who attended the Centre for a potential fracture. Being treated by a doctor at the PPCC meant that Jane did not have to wait at the Northern Hospital Emergency Department (ED) and was able to be directly referred for treatment. The Centre works directly with both the Northern Hospital ED and the new Victorian Virtual ED service to receive referrals as well as accepting patients via phone and online bookings.
A further 24 centres will open across Victoria in the coming months with Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas MP commenting, “Having the first of our Priority Primary Care Centres open is a huge boost to the system – taking pressure off local GPs and EDs and providing more options for patients in the northern suburbs.” The PPCCs will be managed by Primary Health Networks under the newly appointed Chief GP Advisor role who will consult widely with all stakeholders across the primary care sector.
Image: Epping PPC staff, NWMPHN CEO, Chris Carter, CEO ForHealth, Andrew Cohen, EMPHN Executive Director, Narelle Quinn, Minister Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Member for Thomastown Bronwyn Halfpenny MP, Andrew Crow, ForHealth Director of Vic/SA Medical Centres and SEMPHN CEO, Quinn Pawson