Broome’s promised Urgent Care Clinic is only weeks away from opening, according to the Federal Health Minister, with the remaining UCCs across WA set to be up and running by the end of the year. Heading into the 2022 Federal election, Labor promised they would establish 50 UCCs across the country to ease pressure on hospitals including a facility in Broome, if they were elected. During an interview with ABC Insiders in April last year Federal Health Minister Mark Butler announced the Government would have all UCCs up and running within the 2023-24 financial year. Despite the promise of the Broome UCC being only weeks away, the department is yet to announce a site for the clinic, and would not confirm a timeline for site selection when asked by the Broome Advertiser. “The Government is working closely with the WA Primary Health Alliance on the Broome UCC and an official announcement on the specifics of the facility would come soon,” a Health Department spokesperson said. It comes as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the fourth urgent care clinic for the State to be based in Cockburn during a quick visit to WA on October 12 to convince voters to support the Voice to Parliament. “From November 1, the largest investment in bulk-billing in the 40-year history of Medicare will take effect, tripling the incentives (through a $3.5 billion investment) that doctors get to bulk-bill children, pensioners and other concession card holders,” he said. “This will make it easier for nearly 420,000 children and their families and 750,000 pensioners and other concession cardholders in WA to see a bulk-billing doctor.” But WA Senator Michaelia Cash slammed the Prime Minster’s announcement, claiming the promised UCCs were “hopelessly” behind schedule. “He’s happy to fly into this State for a few hours and make an announcement but he should not think he is fooling anyone,’’ she said. “The reality behind this announcement is very different to what Mr Albanese is trying to portray — these clinics are behind schedule and many are not opening as they were promised to.” Hitting back at the claims, Mr Butler said the UCCs were always promised to be delivered by the end of the 2023 calendar year and not by the start of the 2023-24 financial year as the Opposition claims. “Three of the seven Medicare Urgent Care Clinics in WA are open and seeing patients, with the remaining clinics, including Broome, to open in coming weeks and all seven clinics to open by the end of the year,” he said. The Government also promised the facilities would be operational for longer hours between 8am and 10pm, but shadow health minister Senator Anne Ruston said that this was not the case at all facilities with some closing by 8pm. “The Government seems to be merely rebadging existing clinics with no guarantee that they will be open for extended hours,’’ she said. “This is far from providing the promised improved access to critical healthcare and reduced pressure on hospital emergency departments.” A Health Department spokesperson said all the UCCs in WA were open extended hours but some would have reduced hours as an initial arrangement. However, as the clinic continues to operate, hours will be extended where possible to meet demand based on local needs. According to the department, there have been more than 5630 presentations at WA UCCs as of October 9 with about 500 visits in the past week.