GP respiratory clinics vs priority primary care centres: which is best for your patient?

GP respiratory clinics vs priority primary care centres: which is best for your patient?

08 December, 2022

General practice respiratory clinics (GPRCs) and priority primary care centres (PPCCs) are designed to ease pressure on busy hospitals and primary care services.

They provide more ways for patients to enter the health care system and get the help they need when they need it.

So, if a patient cannot get the care they need from their usual GP or a pharmacist, but they’re not sick enough to require emergency admission to hospital, which is a better option – a GPRC or a PPCC?

Key messages

If a patient has mild respiratory symptoms (including confirmed COVID-19) and needs to see a GP or nurse, a GPRC is the best place to go. They provide face-to-face and telehealth assessment, full respiratory panel testing, immediate support for anyone with respiratory illness (including babies), and COVID-19 antiviral prescriptions for eligible patients.

If a patient has a serious but non-life-threatening injury, illness or other condition requiring same-day care, they can visit a PPCC instead of waiting in an emergency department. The clinics have GPs and nurses who specialise in urgent primary care and provide x-rays, pathology, and other tests on site or nearby.

Many GPRCs and PPCCs are open after-hours and on weekends. It’s best to book ahead, but you can walk in. Care is free for patients, even without a Medicare card. (Some patients at PPCCs may be charged a fee for diagnostics, depending on local provider partnerships.)

GPRCs operate at nearly 50 Victorian locations, including 7 in our catchment. Visit our website to find your nearest.

PPCCs operate at 5 Victorian locations, including 3 in our region. 20 more will open statewide by early 2023, including several more in our region.

If referring to a PPCC, health professionals should ensure patients are directed to the exact location – not a nearby general practice (where they may be charged a fee). Use the links above to book. You may also consider providing the patient with a referral letter. Visit HealthPathways Melbourne for clinical and referral information.

For more information refer to the comparison table.