KERANG District Health's Urgent Care Centre will continue to operate 24 hours a day following the implementation of new arrangements that come into effect on February 1.
Measures have been put in place to ensure services continue following the retirement of long-standing general practitioner, Dr Graeme Wood and the planned relocation of two doctors from local clinics.
Patients who visit the Burgoyne Street facility between 10pm and 8am will still be seen by the centre's nurse-on-duty, who will liaise with the emergency doctor at Bendigo Health, who may video call with the patient and nurse through the telehealth system.
"We are committed to continuing with our long-standing nurse-led Model of Care at Kerang District Health, and working to ensure we support our GPs to live and work in our community and to have some time to rest each day," the health service's director of clinical services, Chloe Keogh said.
"As has always been the case, patients presenting to the Urgent Care Centre will be assessed by the nurse-on-duty, who may then contact a doctor at their clinic for advice and treatment of non-life-threatening medical conditions.
"The on-call doctor may then attend the hospital, or speak to the patient over a telehealth screen – a specially-designed television with a very clear screen and volume control."
People should use the facility for injuries or illnesses that require immediate medical attention, with those seen by a doctor on-call charged privately by the clinic that the GP works from.
If required, patients may be transferred to another hospital, with ambulance charges potentially being applied.
In an emergency, people should not delay but should call 000 for an ambulance. For non-urgent advice, patients are encouraged to phone Nurse-On-Call on 1300 60 60 24.
"Kerang District Health is fortunate to have a well-equipped modern facility with highly skilled staff, including advance practising nurses and staff who are well skilled in emergency care," Mrs Keogh said.
"We are committed to working with our local doctors to ensure our community continues to have access to the range of health services they need."