Expressions of interest have now been received from 120 general practices across the metropolitan area for the GP Urgent Care Network pilot, due to go live mid-year. Assessment against the selection criteria is underway and the volume of applications received should ensure the critical mass necessary to establish the network.
The pilot has been developed from the WA Government’s Urgent Care Clinic election commitment, in consultation with individual GPs from a range of general practice business models, the RACGP WA, AMA (WA), WA Primary Health Alliance and the WA Department of Health.
The selected model is a good outcome for WA GPs as it creates a ‘level playing field’ for practices to participate as it moves away from a stand-alone urgent care centre model.
The pilot will use existing capacity and capability in general practice and will also provide opportunities for promotion to the general public, upskilling in urgent care, and further development of practice relationships with emergency departments and diagnostic providers.
It will give greater choice to patients by allowing them to receive urgent care in the general practice setting, thus reducing “GP type” presentations at our emergency departments.
The pilot also incorporates behavioural change research being undertaken with Curtin University to understand how to influence patient behaviour to attend a GP Urgent Care Network practice rather than an emergency department.
Bookings for these urgent care appointments will be accessible via healthdirect Australia’s enhanced National Health Services Directory platform, which is being developed specifically to support this project.