DOCTORS will stop treating patients at Moyne Health Services' urgent care centre, as its model changes to rely less on private GPs.
Moyne Health's chief Jackie Kelly on Wednesday announced the changes, which mean the 24-seven service will become entirely nurse operated from 2020.
Doctors from Port Fairy Medical Clinic have provided an on-call service for urgent care patients at the Port Fairy hospital but the private practice will now stop offering that service.
Ms Kelly said the reduction in the private doctors' on-call duties reflected younger GPs seeking a better work-life balance statewide.
"Urgent care centres have developed over time and we have relied too much on our local medical workforce to come in and support our urgent care centres," she said.
"We need to take responsibility for a new model, which still enhances the care for people into the centres."
The urgent care centre treats about five patients daily, Ms Kelly said, a jump from the two presentations a day in 2018 when a new urgent care facility opened.
Paramedics will continue to transfer severe urgent care presentations to Warrnambool Base Hospital, Ms Kelly said, while the hospital recommends calling triple-0 in severe cases.
"Southwest Healthcare has been supportive of our new model," she said.
While the on-call doctors will no longer treat urgent care patients, they will continue to treat patients in the Moyne Health Services' acute ward and aged care services.
The Port Fairy-based hospital will employ a new urgent care nurse to staff the centre, while at least three registered nurses will undertake further training.
On-call private doctors have traditionally charged patients for treatment in the public hospital's urgent care, but Ms Kelly said the state government had not provided further funding for the new nurse-based model.
"We have had to find that in our existing funding," she said.
Ms Kelly said a working group was considering further options that could include recommendations to employ public doctors.
"We will look at different models into the future and that might include (our own) medical workforce," she said.
A spokesman for Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services said he was "confident" Moyne Health Services would continue to meet the needs of Port Fairy.
He said the changes followed "advice from the Port Fairy Medical Clinic that its GPs were no longer available to staff the service".
Port Fairy Medical Clinic did not respond to questions before deadline.
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