Urgent Care Centres – Definitions – Models

What is an Urgent Care Centre ? What would be the implications for Bulli Hospital ?

The Minister for Health in NSW, Jillian Skinner, in response to Ryan Park, MP for Keira, has indicated that there are proposals to replace the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department with an Urgent Care Centre – 
The Local Health District is in the early stages of the planning and consultation phase for proposed changes at Bulli Hospital, including thereconfiguration of the Emergency Department to an Urgent Care Centr. I also refer the Member to my response to his question without notice on Tuesday 18 October 2011 concerning the Bulli Hospital”

In NSW in late 2010 it was revealed that NSW Health had prepared a draft document to roll out Urgent Care Centres to take the pressure off struggling ED’s …
” The centres could be : 

  • co-located with an ED,
  • co-located on a hospital campus away from an ED,
  • or freestanding in the community.

The document states that “the Revive nurse clinics are an example of how urgent care centres could work in community settings.
The centres will be able to treat patients for a range of medical conditions, including “acute back or neck pain, acute otitis media, respiratory tract infections, dermatological issues and minor fractures and dislocations… .They could be staffed by either doctors, “senior registrars with ED experience”, nurse practitioners
or other nursing staff.

So what might this multiplicity of NSW possible models mean for for Bulli Hospital ? Not to mention those of other states and in other countries ?

More on Plans for Bulli Hospital Emergency Department changes :NSW Health – Healthcare Services Plan 2010Refer p 38-39 of plan (nb not pdf page no.) – “Bulli Hospital will be supported by and access a full range of sub-speciality services and urgent and complex and tertiary level services by networking with Wollongong and Shellharbour Hospitals. In addition, the hospital will have an Urgent Care Centre and provide integratedprimary and community care services in a purpose-built facility”(p40) show cuts of 1 Medical role in Emergency for Bulli – but no changes for Wollongong and Shellharbour – cost cut & difficulty staffing ??(p42) Summary of change for Southern Hospital Network- Change – # Urgent care centre establishedMajor focus aged care & community health ^ Services transferred to TWH/ SHH
Budget 2011-12 Estimates Questions – Questions from Dr John Kaye MLC (Greens) on Bulli Emergency Department –
89. Is the emergency department at Bulli Hospital currently open?
90. When will funding be allocated for an alternative urgent care centre?
91. Is there a planned start date for construction of the new centre?92. Will the Bulli emergency department be kept open until the new centre is built?

But again – what is an Urgent Care Centre ?

There are a number of models for Urgent Care Centres operating in Australia & Overseas :

In South Australia Ekera – SA EMed are due to open their first Urgent Care Centre in mid 2012 – hoping for more with another 4 due to open in next few years. The first one will be open 7 days per week : 9am -9pm


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