The first Australian Government-funded GP-led respiratory clinic in Cairns has opened to support local GPs with patients who require further assessment and testing for coronavirus.
The Cairns (Woree) Respiratory Clinic will assess, test, and diagnose community members experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms – a fever, cough, shortness of breath, a sore throat and/or unusual fatigue.
Community members will be directed back to their usual GP for ongoing care.
The SmartClinics Woree Family Medical Centre will run the new clinic from its existing site, which will be staffed from Monday to Friday by an expert medical team of doctors and nurses, supported by auxiliary practice support staff.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the establishment of the respiratory clinic in Cairns – one of 100 respiratory clinics to be set up across Australia – was a key milestone in local efforts to reduce the impact of coronavirus.
“The Woree clinic is well placed to support people with fever, cough, sore throat, and other respiratory symptoms, and avoiding the risk of infection in our community,” Mr Entsch said.
“I am pleased that Northern Queensland PHN and local GPs have worked collaboratively with the Federal Government to deliver this important health service.
“It is vital that potential COVID-19 patients can be assessed and tested as soon as possible to prevent the further spread of the virus, which is exactly the service this clinic will provide.”
Mr Entsch said the Cairns (Woree) Respiratory Clinic will support Queensland’s response to coronavirus, build the capacity of the local health system, and reduce pressure on hospitals and frontline health workers.
“The respiratory clinics across Australia are staffed by GPs, and will provide full assessment and management plans for patients presenting with respiratory symptoms,” he said.
“They are designed to complement existing fever clinics which have been established by local hospital and health services.”
Mr Entsch also urged the Cairns community to download the COVIDSafe app, which provides quicker contact tracing for coronavirus, essential for containing the spread of the virus.
“The app is a key tool in building on the great work already done by health officials and the community to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
“I can assure Cairns residents that the app is completely safe, your privacy is guaranteed, and it can only be used for contact tracing, so let’s join millions of other Australians by using this app for the good of you, your family, and the wider community.”
SmartClinics Woree Family Medical Centre’s Dr Kate Brennan said the clinic will support assessment by a GP and onsite testing for COVID-19 where patients meet the testing criteria.
“Patients of all age groups, including children and babies, can be examined and assessed at our clinic Dr Brennan said.
“If COVID-19 testing is required, testing can be done on site, and results sent to their usual GP.
“Patients will also be provided initial advice for any condition diagnosed during the appointment, after which ongoing care will transition back to their regular GP.
“We are here to clinically examine and assess the patient face to face for their regular GP. We all want our patients, staff, and community general practice to stay safe.
“Respiratory clinic services, which are being run by GPs for the community, will be provided at no cost to the patient.”
If a patient tests positive, the patient will be referred to the local Public Health Unit, while a negative result will see the patient notified of the result by staff at Cairns (Woree) Respiratory Clinic.
Community members experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or fatigue can book an appointment at Cairns (Woree) Respiratory Clinic by calling 1300 411 748 or online at https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/woree-QLD-4868/southern-cairns-respiratory-clinic/doctors?purpose=respiratory