Photo Caption (L-R): Pictured outside the Cobar respiratory clinic are Therese Gale, Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSWPHN); Denise Gordon, Executive Manager of Clinical Service with Outback Division of General Practice; Sandy Negfeldt, Practice Nurse, Cobar Primary Health Care Centre; and Dr Sanjay Jamwal, GP, Cobar Primary Health Care Centre.
Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health Mark Coulton has announced Cobar’s new respiratory clinic is now operational.
“The clinic is being run by the NSW Outback Division of General Practice and will help to screen patients with COVID-19-like symptoms,” Mr Coulton said.
“Patients can make their booking over the phone and can be assessed from Tuesday 12 May.
“This is exciting news for Cobar as we continue to strengthen our local capacity in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Mr Coulton said the respiratory clinic is located in the Allied Health building at the Cobar Primary Health Care Centre.
“The Federal Government has committed to establishing up to 100 GP-led respiratory clinics across Australia to assess patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.
“These respiratory clinics are best placed to support people with a fever, cough, sore throat and other respiratory symptoms and will help to avoid the risk of infection in our local communities.
“The Federal Government has been working with local GPs and Aspen Medical – which has significant health emergency management experience in Australia and overseas – to roll out the Cobar clinic.”
Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) CEO Andrew Harvey said the Cobar clinic complements an enormous amount of work already undertaken by GPs and clinicians across hospital and primary health care networks, further strengthening the preparedness for COVID-19.
“This respiratory clinic provides additional capacity in Cobar to support early detection and reinforce services, and I’m very grateful for the support of the NSW Outback Division of General Practice in helping to set up this important addition to our COVID-19 infrastructure,” Mr Harvey said.
“While performing vitally important work in its own right, the respiratory clinic also provides added comfort for people without respiratory complaints to continue to visit their GP and other health professionals for regular check-ups and other issues.”
NSW Outback Division of General Practice General Manager Tanya Jackson said the Cobar clinic opening marks an important step in combatting the spread of COVID-19.
“The Outback Division of General Practice appreciates this opportunity from the Department of Health to fund the establishment of a respiratory clinic in Cobar, which will strengthen our ability and capacity to identify cases and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Jackson said.
“The clinic is led by an experienced GP and nurse, and its operations are designed to see patients with specific respiratory symptoms including cold, flu and COVID-19-like symptoms, and ensure these patients can access a GP appointment without posing additional infection risks to other patients, the community and the health workforce.”
Patients can make a booking by phoning the Cobar Primary Health Care Centre on 02 6836 5500. The opening hours for this clinic are 9am – 1pm Mondays to Wednesdays, and 1pm – 5pm Thursdays.
• The Federal Government is investing $206.7 million to establish up to 100 respiratory clinics across Australia, including in rural and regional areas. Additionally, more than 160 fever clinics, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments are also in operation across Australia.
• People with severe symptoms should call 000 and/or attend the nearest hospital emergency department.
• It is important that people attend the clinic only at the time of their booking so that social distancing can be maintained, and they may be asked to wait in their car until the clinic is ready to receive them.
• People will be assessed by a GP or a nurse under the supervision of a GP and have a specimen taken for pathology testing if that is indicated.
• Regardless of whether a test is undertaken, the person will receive clinical advice on how to manage their symptoms and an initial follow-up phone call or text message with test results and to check on how they are going.
• After people have visited the clinic, they will remain eligible to continue to consult their regular GP using the MBS telehealth items.