Victorians are accessing Priority Primary Care Clinics (PPCCs) and the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED) as alternative urgent care options in record numbers – as our hardworking paramedics and emergency department staff face record demand.
Minister for Ambulance Services Gabrielle Williams today visited the Dandenong PPCC to remind Victorians of the other options available to them, with the warmer weather and school holidays expected to lead to higher demand on paramedics and emergency departments.
Dandenong is one of 27 centres open across the state, caring for almost 9,000 visitors since opening in late 2022 – with approximately 53 per cent telling staff they would have attended an ED if the service was not an option.
The Andrews Labor Government has invested more than $90 million to deliver this free service for all Victorians, with or without a Medicare card.
The demand for urgent care remains high and the PPCCs have quickly become an invaluable addition to the health system, with more than 152,000 visits recorded since the centres started progressively opening late last year.
Open after hours and on weekends, they are staffed by highly qualified teams of GPs and nurses who can treat a range of conditions that require urgent attention but not a hospital-led response, such as mild infections, fractures and burns – helping to improve treatment and waiting times at hospital EDs.
Available to all Victorians, no matter where they live, thousands are also accessing urgent care through the VVED which has provided more than 155,000 video consultations to patients since it launched in October 2020 – paramedics are also connecting patients to VVED through the Ambulance Victoria pathway.
For the month of July, over 3,000 patients were connected to VVED by a paramedic with 77 per cent of these patients not requiring transport to, or care at an emergency department – getting our paramedics back on the road quicker, ensuring they are free to respond to the most urgent cases.
We know too many people cannot get in to see a GP or cannot afford to see one, with bulk-billing doctors now few and far between. That is why in addition to our PPCCs and VVED, we have expanded the Better at Home program, have delivered Ambulance Victoria’s Secondary Triage Service and state-run GP respiratory clinics.
If facing a medical emergency, people should still call Triple Zero or present to their closest ED, however the PPCCs and VVED are the best alternative for patients with urgent medical conditions when their GP is not accessible.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Ambulance Services Gabrielle Williams
“We know how hard it is for Victorians to see a GP, that’s why we’ve stepped in to primary care to ensure Victorians get the treatment and support they need, when they need it.”
“Our PPCCs and VVED are already proving popular with more than 300,000 Victorians accessing these free, local and fast alternative care primary care options.”
“We know that as the weather warms up and school holidays begin, there is a spike in the demand for our ambulance services – this is a timely reminder to get the message out there about our alternative urgent care options.”
Reviewed 15 September 2023