New GP respiratory clinics will open in Whittlesea and Hume to enable people to access COVID-19 testing and respiratory assessments close to home, without going to hospital.
The clinics will be among 20 GP-run respiratory clinics which will help to ease the load on hospital, according to the state government.
The government estimates the respiratory clinics will support more than 350 patients of all ages each week who have respiratory symptoms, to ensure they receive immediate support in the management of their illness.
Services will be available to those with or without a Medicare card, at no cost to the patient, with the fit-for-purpose facilities open 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
The clinics will be staffed by appropriately trained and qualified clinicians, including general practitioners and nurses.
The new clinics will be set up in three to six weeks.
Health Minister Martin Foley said: “Establishing GP respiratory clinics in areas of high demand is about ensuring Victorians have easy access to free, high-quality care close to home – reducing visits to busy emergency departments.
“Increasing COVID-19 cases in Victoria has highlighted the critical role of primary care – ensuring Victorians can quickly access the respiratory support they need, 16 hours day, seven days a week.”