GP-led COVID-19 respiratory clinics are springing up across Western NSW as statewide restrictions are eased and the wait begins for a potential second wave of infections.
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The Dubbo clinic took its first patients on Monday of last week.
Clinics at Cobar and Mudgee opened their doors on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, this week.
Orange and Cowra clinics are expected to be up and running next week, according to the Western NSW Primary Health Network (PHN) which has been heavily involved in the process of establishing clinics within its boundaries.
It also reports of work underway into the launch of a clinic at Broken Hill.
A clinic at Bathurst has been operational for two weeks.
The federal government is spending $206.7 million on clinics run by selected GPs under its COVID-19 National Health Plan.
Treatment and tests at the clinics are free.
Federal Minister for Regional Health and Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, has encouraged regional and rural residents with coronavirus-like symptoms to use them, instead of their own GPs.
"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 when the Cobar clinic was opened this week.
"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 opening of the Mudgee clinic prompted advice from Member for Calare Andrew Gee.
"In the absence of a vaccine, testing is a key weapon in the fight against COVID-19," he said.
"The faster we can test and isolate cases, the more lives we can save, and the fewer lockdown restrictions we need."
Western NSW PHN chief executive officer Andrew Harvey has highlighted the clinics' role in providing "added comfort for people without respiratory complaints to continue to visit their GP and other health professionals for regular check-ups and other issues".
The Dubbo clinic at 183 Brisbane Street is run by Dubbo Medical and Allied Health Group.
Dr Sunil Jacob is lead clinician.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling 6815 9900 or searching for Dubbo respiratory clinic at www.hotdoc.com.au.
People with severe respiratory symptoms should call triple zero and/or attend their nearest hospital emergency department.
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