Premier Daniel Andrews, alongside his newly appointment Health Minister, Mary-Anne Thomas, attended our Monash Respiratory Clinic in Glen Waverley on Tuesday 4 July to support the general practice respiratory clinics (GPRCs) and announce ongoing funding to these crucial services.
One of six state funded GP respiratory clinics (GPRC) that have commenced operating in the Eastern Melbourne region, the clinic is conveniently located within the local community in Glen Waverley. The GPRC is available to undertake respiratory assessments (including COVID-19) and other respiratory virus testing and support the management of a person’s immediate respiratory illness without going to the hospital. The clinic is operated and staffed by specialised and qualified clinicians, including general practitioners and nurses and is open seven days per week from 8am to 10pm.
Since opening in December 2021, the Monash Respiratory Clinic has seen over 6015 patients including 2262 paediatric assessments. Almost 740 patients visited the clinic in the first month for a respiratory assessment either due to COVID or other respiratory illnesses circulating in the community. The clinic is also reporting an increase in the severity of illness, and large numbers of young children presenting with other respiratory viruses such as influenza A and Rhinovirus or multiple illnesses at the same time.
With almost 30,000 cases of the flu already reported in Victoria this year (a 30 per cent increase from the last pre-COVID flu season in 2019), GPRCs are proving an alternative for patients experiencing low to moderate symptoms. The service is bolstering the critical role of primary care in reducing demand on hospitals, including presentations to emergency departments (EDs), for respiratory-type symptoms. Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas stating:
“This winter has highlighted the importance of a strong primary care network and we need to ensure that Victorians can access the appropriate medical support without having to go to an emergency department.”
As part of the service, people attending the clinics are being surveyed as to where they would have gone if the GPRC service was not available. Of the 4980 surveys completed, 540 patients (10.86%) would have attended an Emergency Department if they had not been able to access a GPRC.
GP respiratory clinics are part of a $54 million state government investment aimed at relieving pressures in busy emergency departments, by providing important care close to home and preventing avoidable visits to hospital. Premier Daniel Andrews on the day emphasising:
“By further expanding this free, high-quality service, even more Victorians can now receive treatment and care for respiratory conditions close to home.”
This investment will see a total of 53 respiratory clinics across the state, including Commonwealth-funded clinics. The Primary Health Networks have rolled out the state-funded GP respiratory clinics very efficiently with 20 clinics opened earlier in the year and an additional six recently opened including two in the EMPHN catchment, located in Mitcham and Lilydale.
You can read the Premier's statement here.
If you have mild COVID-19, flu, cough or cold symptoms, a GP is the best health professional to quickly provide you with the care you need. If your usual GP can’t see you face-to-face, appointments are available at general practice respiratory clinics (GPRCs).
Visit our GPRC page for more information including booking links, opening hours and a map of all GPRCs in metropolitan Melbourne.
*If you have severe trouble breathing, blueness around the mouth, chest pains, or pain in your arms or jaw, call triple zero (000) for urgent help.