THE new Wonthaggi Respiratory (COVID-19) Assessment Clinic will open on Monday, May 4, 2020, as one of six new assessment clinics being set up across Gippsland.
The clinic will be operated by the Wonthaggi Medical Group at 42 Murray Street via the Biggs
It will be staffed from Monday to Friday by a medical team of four, comprising doctors and nurses,
who will be supported by receptionists and cleaners.
Gippsland Primary Health Network (PHN) has been working closely with general practices across
the region to establish the clinics at the six sites, with Warragul opening on Monday, April 27 and
the clinics at Sale, Bairnsdale and Foster following soon.
The Australian Department of Health (DoH) has funded 100 private practice respiratory clinics
across Australia to provide dedicated services to people with mild to moderate COVID-19
symptoms, in addition to services available within public hospitals and general practices.
Gippsland PHN Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Proposch, said the intent of the assessment clinics
was to provide assessment and care of patients presenting with mild to moderate respiratory
symptoms with referral to another health facility or home isolation if required.
She said the clinics would reduce pressure on public hospitals and primary health providers, while
also reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 across the whole community.
“Respiratory clinics will reduce the risk of further transmission of COVID-19, help to optimise the
use of available stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and help reduce the pressure on
hospital emergency departments,” Ms Proposch said.
“The clinics will be established in dedicated premises which meet clear criteria, with arrangements
to safely manage infection control. They will complement efforts of state and territory clinics at
“They will be staffed by existing general practice doctors and nurses and will be funded to assess,
test and diagnose respiratory cases, including COVID-19, influenza and pneumonia.”
Wonthaggi Medical Group Practice Manager, Gayle Bloch, said her clinic was pleased to be
working with the Department of Health to provide this service to the Bass Coast community.
“Aspen Medical, an Australian-owned global company has been appointed by DoH to deliver extra
training in infection control and prevention to our staff and the clinic has undergone a
comprehensive infection control audit,” Ms Bloch said.
“Aspen Medical is working with all the respiratory clinics across the region to support with the setup, quality and safety and infection control.”
Ms Proposch said as well as working closely with the six regional clinics and other regional health
services, Gippsland PHN had worked closely with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and
the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to identify practices capable of
managing the appropriate infection control arrangements, and willing to operate the clinics in a
mix of urban, regional and rural settings.
BCH CEO welcomes clinic opening
Bass Coast Health Chief Executive Officer, Jan Child, welcomed the commencement of a respiratory clinic at Wonthaggi Medical Group (WMG).
Ms Child said the health service would continue to work closely with local doctors and the community to provide continuity of care in the hospital or home environment, as required.
“The BCH COVID-19 assessment clinics were established on 15 March at Cowes and Wonthaggi and will close once the new WMG clinic is operational,” she said.
“We thank our staff for their tremendous efforts over the past six weeks – we have tested over 700 people, with staff upskilling, working extra shifts and being extremely committed to the safety of all involved.
“We look forward to WMG taking over this important role so that our staff can return to their usual service provision and appreciate Gippsland PHN’s efforts in making this happen as quickly and thoroughly as possible.”
Those seeking to be tested must register for an appointment at https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/wonthaggi-VIC-3995/wonthaggi-respiratoryclinic/doctors?purpose=respiratory
or phone 0492 036 568 to make an appointment. (Link might not be fully operational until Monday, follow prompts). A nurse will meet patients at the Allied Health entrance on Biggs Drive to triage the person to the appropriate consulting room for testing. If access to electronic registering is difficult, the person will be assisted at the clinic.
Once the person has been tested, they will need to self-isolate at home until they receive their
results – expected to take up to two days. Depending on the outcome, they will either be referred
for more treatment or be cleared of COVID-19.