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Accessing medical care when it’s urgent

The Lismore App

09 July 2024, 10:15 PM

Accessing medical care when it’s urgentSelecting the right person to go to when you are unwell can make a difference to those in real emergencies.

People in Northern Rivers NSW are being reminded of the care options that are available to them, as winter illnesses continue to impact the local community and the region’s busy emergency departments (EDs).


Northern NSW Local Health District Chief Executive, Tracey Maisey said those with non life threatening conditions are encouraged to call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for fast and free health advice from a registered nurse. You can also check your symptoms and find a service online at Healthdirect.gov.au or on the Healthdirect app.



“When you call Healthdirect, a registered nurse will assess your condition and guide you to the care you need, which could be a local health service, such as urgent care service, or connect you with a virtual care service,” Ms Maisey said.


“Hospitals in northern NSW are extremely busy this winter, with high numbers of ED presentations month on month. Across the District, we are seeing an average of 622 people present to our EDs each day, which is higher than the same time last year.



“By utilising services like Healthdirect, we can ensure our busy EDs are reserved for the most urgent and high-level care that can’t be accessed anywhere else.”

Ms Maisey also reminded the community there are a few simple steps people can take to help protect themselves and their loved ones from respiratory illnesses.


“The most important thing to do is booking in for your flu vaccine if you haven’t already – it is not too late. Please stay home if you are sick. If you are unwell and need to leave home, please wear a mask and avoid high-risk settings including aged care and hospitals,” Ms Maisey said.



Chief Executive of Healthy North Coast, Monika Wheeler, said in recent years there has also been significant investment to enhance primary care access in northern NSW.


“If you can’t get a quick appointment with your regular general practice or care provider, there are several free, local options available for urgent care needs,” Ms Wheeler said.


“Healthy North Coast is also supporting the Australian Government’s establishment of a GP-led Medicare Urgent Care Clinic in Lismore. The clinic is open seven days a week from 7.30am to 7.30pm, and accepts walk-ins, with no appointment needed.


“If you have a life-threatening emergency, call Triple Zero (000) or go to an ED. Examples of life threatening emergencies include chest pressure or pain lasting more than 10 minutes, difficulty breathing, uncontrollable bleeding, or sudden collapse.”



Lismore Medicare Urgent Care Clinic


No appointment needed, walk-ins welcome. Open 7 days a week. The clinic provides free, immediate treatment to Medicare Card holders for non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses. Services include treatment for respiratory illnesses, gastroenteritis, minor infections, burns or cuts, sprains and sports injuries, STIs, bites and rashes, eye and ear infections.


Members of the community may also be directed to Lismore Medicare Urgent Care Clinic by calling Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or via the North Coast Health Connect website.


Location: 33-35 Rous Rd, Goonellabah

Opening hours: 7.30am - 7.30pm, 7 days.


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