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Urgent Care Clinics

6-minute read

Key facts

  • Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (Medicare UCCs) are clinics that are open for longer hours than regular GP clinics, and provide bulk billed medical care for anyone with a Medicare card.
  • You don't need an appointment or referral for Medicare UCCs.
  • Medicare UCCs can help if you have urgent medical problems that can't wait for your GP, don't need a hospital emergency department, for example minor infections, coughs and colds, gastroenteritis, sprains and back pain.
  • They can't help in emergencies, if you are very sick or have longstanding medical conditions, for general check-ups, regular prescriptions or referrals.

What are Medicare Urgent Care Clinics (Medicare UCCs)?

Medicare UCCs are where you can go to get urgent health care that doesn't require an emergency department. They are usually run by GPs, and are open for longer hours than regular GP clinics.

Medicare UCCs are currently being set up by the Australian Government and state governments in GP clinics, community health centres and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. You will be able to find Medicare UCCs across Australia by the end of 2023. Medicare UCCs provide bulk billed health care, which means you don't have to pay out of pocket for health services.

In Victoria you may have heard them being called Priority Primary Care Centres. There are around 20 now open with more planned. In New South Wales they are usually called Urgent Care Services and there are plans to have 25 by the end of 2025. In Western Australia these clinics are called GP Urgent Care.

Medicare UCCs not only mean you get access to urgent health care without needing to go to hospital, but also that hospital emergency departments will have more space to help patients who are sicker or have life-threatening emergencies.

What type of health issues can Medicare UCCs help me with?

Medicare UCCs can help when you need to see a doctor because you are sick or have an injury that can't wait for you to get an appointment with your GP. They will treat you for urgent health problems that aren't serious enough for you to need to go to a hospital emergency department.

When should I go to a Medicare UCC?

Examples of health conditions that you can get treatment for at a Medicare UCC include:

  • minor infections, including urinary tract infections (UTIs), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and gastroenteritis ('gastro')
  • mild burns
  • small cuts needing stitches or glue
  • insect bites, stings and rashes
  • coughs and colds (respiratory illness)
  • minor eye and ear problems
  • minor broken bones (fractures) and sprains, sports injuries, and neck and back pain

When shouldn't I go to a Medicare UCC?

Medicare UCCs cannot provide emergency or life-threating care, and cannot help with general health care. Examples of emergency or life-threatening symptoms include:

  • chest pain or tightness
  • breathing difficulties
  • uncontrollable bleeding
  • severe burns
  • poisoning
  • numbness or paralysis
  • unconscious, unresponsive or having seizures
  • ongoing fever in infants

If you or someone in your care has a life-threatening injury or illness, call triple zero (000) or go to your nearest emergency department.

General health care is the type of care you would see your usual GP for. Examples of general health care include:

  • diagnosis and treatment of many diseases and illnesses
  • general screening and health checks
  • vaccinations and prescriptions
  • mental health advice
  • family planning advice
  • referrals for tests, scans or specialist care
  • chronic disease management

If you have a long-standing health problem that is stable, book an appointment with your GP. If you need a general check-up, non-urgent mental health advice, family planning advice, vaccinations, prescriptions or referrals your GP is the best person to speak to. Some GPs are able to provide same day appointments.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

How can I access a Medicare UCC?

It is free to get treatment at a Medicare UCC, but you will need to bring your Medicare card. You don't need an appointment or a referral.

To find your nearest Medicare UCC, go to the Department of Health and Aged Care's website.

If you don't have a Medicare card, check if you are eligible and how to apply at Services Australia.

Resources and support

To find your nearest Medicare UCC, go to the Department of Health and Aged Care's website or use the healthdirect Service Finder.

You can call The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131 450 if you speak a language other than English, and need help finding out where your nearest Urgent Care Clinic is.

Information about Priority Primary Care Centres in Victoria is available in many community languages.

Visit The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet for links to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health and medical services.

If you are worried about your pregnancy, your baby or child, call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available from 7 am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week (including public holidays).

You can also call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria). A registered nurse is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2023

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