Thursday, September 7, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A new face-to-face general practice service, which aims to address the current gaps in afterhours primary health care delivery and improve access to timelier care, is now available for all residents in Mackay and surrounding areas.
Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) is pleased to announce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Mackay will deliver a new comprehensive and integrated afterhours primary care service for all community members in the Mackay region whose health conditions cannot wait for health care during normal hours.
The NQPHN Health Needs Assessment (HNA) 2022-24 confirms a demonstrated lack of comprehensive afterhours services, including access to general practices and pharmacies, with people finding it harder to access afterhours primary care, particularly where primary care services are already limited during normal hours. NQPHN is an independent not for profit organisation, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.
NQPHN Chief Executive Officer Robin Whyte said the afterhours primary care service would help reduce reliance on emergency departments (EDs) and avoidable hospitalisations after hours.
“We recognise there is a rising need for afterhours services in Mackay and the surrounding areas, and the limited availability of primary care services after hours can lead to the increased use of emergency departments and urgent-care services,” Ms Whyte said.
“ATSICHS Mackay was selected as the lead provider following a rigorous tendering process to ensure timely access to safe and high-quality afterhours services could be met.”
ATSICHS Mackay has been delivering tailored quality primary health care services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Mackay and surrounding areas since 1978, and celebrated 40 years of operation in 2019.
Ms Whyte said ATSICHS Mackay had an established presence in the Mackay region in meeting the health care needs of local communities and would commence delivery of the afterhours primary care service from today, 4 September 2023.
ATSICHS Mackay Executive Manager Valerie Pilcher said the service would help community members access care without having to travel to the Emergency Department.
“Having an alternative option to attend a clinic that offers afterhours emergency services will benefit our community positively, especially those living in the Northern Beaches and Bucasia area,” she said.
ATSICHS’ afterhours primary care service will operate Monday and Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm, and Saturday from 2pm to 5pm.
Ms Whyte said the afterhours primary care services would ultimately complement existing health services in the Mackay area.
The main ATSICHS clinic operates from 31-33 Victoria Street, Mackay, while the subsidiary clinic operates from Shop 21, Hibiscus Shopping Centre, 54 Downie Avenue, Bucasia.
The new afterhours service will help all Mackay residents access care without having to travel to the Emergency Department