ACT News

Numbers give thumbs up to nurse-led walk-in centres

Canberrans have embraced their new nurse-led walk-in centres with 9300 people visiting in the first centres since opening in June. Mark Sawa reports.

NEW APPROACH: Christine Riley of Isabella Plains with Walk-in Centre Nurse Practitioner Wendy Kroon.
NEW APPROACH: Christine Riley of Isabella Plains with Walk-in Centre Nurse Practitioner Wendy Kroon. 

The ACT government has revealed there have been more than 9300 presentations at the new Belconnen and Tuggeranong nurse-led walk-in centres since opening in June.

ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher said the figures show Canberrans have embraced the new locations.

"It is great to see Canberrans are enjoying the convenience  these locations can provide closer to their homes or work," she said.

The Walk-in Centre in Tuggeranong Town Centre had 5546 presentations between June 26 and September 30, 2014. At the Belconnen the Walk-in Centre there were 4040 presentations between July 1 and September 30, 2014.

"I am confident that patient numbers from the north side of Canberra will continue to grow as residents become more familiar with the benefits of the service," Ms Gallagher said.

Nurse-led walk-in centres provide an alternative for minor illnesses and injuries to going to the emergency department.


The first walk-in centre, at Canberra Hospital in Woden, courted controversy when an independent report by the Australian Primary Healthcare Research Institute, showed it caused more work for the hospital's emergency department.

The report said there was no evidence to support the ACT government's argument that locating the centre on the hospital campus would reduce pressure on the emergency department.

An ACT Health Directorate spokeswoman said the new centres had only been open for a few months so it was not possible to determine the impact their opening has had on emergency department presentations.

"One of the learnings from the Canberra Hospital walk-in centre was that the centre provided a safe service that no longer needed to be co-located with a tertiary facility," the spokeswoman said.

"By locating the new walk-in centres in a northern and southern suburb, we know that we are successfully delivering care even closer to people's homes," she said.