Frequently Asked Questions
1. What if I need urgent medical attention while I am at the Walk-in Centre?
If an ambulance is called by Walk-in Centre staff because you require urgent medical attention. ACT legislation places a legal obligation on the person receiving the ambulance service to pay the account even if they didn’t ask for an ambulance.
There will be a cost if the ambulance attends even if the ambulance does not transport you to hospital. The costs are approved by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and can be found on ACT Ambulance website.
You may have specific health insurance that may cover the cost or payment plans are available through negotiation. Emergency Ambulance Service is free for ACT pension card holders and health care card holders within the ACT.
Current costs are in the vicinity of $900 for transport, or $600 for assessment without transport.
2. What are some conditions treatable within the WiC scope of practice?
We provide advice and treatment for a variety of minor illnesses and injuries. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Urinary Tract Infections in women
- Common Cold and Influenza
- Conjunctivitis (eye infection)
- Simple limb injuries
- Minor limb fractures
- Minor cuts, abrasions, bruises, and burns
- Sinusitis, Tonsillitis, Middle and Outer Ear Infections
- Ear wax removal
- School sores
- Simple gastroenteritis
- Emergency contraception
- Skin conditions and rashes
3. What ages do you treat?
Ages 2 years and older.
4. I was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Can I be assessed by the nurses at the WiC?
No. Motor vehicle accident injuries (whether it is minor,involves another party or just yourself) are not appropriate for assessment by WiC nurses. You should be examined by a medical officer so that appropriate documentation, if needed for the future, can be made available for insurance claims and other parties.
5. I had an injury at work. Can this be assessed by the WiC?
If you have sustained an injury at work it is our recommendation that you have a formal evaluation by a medical officer in the event that a compensation claim needs to be filed. Current legislation does not allow a nurse to complete such documentation.
6. What are some examples of complex conditions that you cannot treat at the WiC?
a. A person who has a urinary tract infection associated with lower back pain.
b. A person who has ongoing chronic care conditions such as high blood pressure.
c. A person who has been treated by a medical officer and whose symptoms have not resolved.
7. Do you provide immunisation services?
We provide a tetanus booster for wounds deemed to be at-risk for tetanus. We do not provide any other immunisations.
8. Do you provide a medical certificate for work?
a. Nursing staff in the WiC can provide a sick/carer certificate/letter following consultation and assessment. This is not a medical certificate.
A sick/carer certificate may be used to inform your employer that you need leave because you are ill/injured or have to care for a member of your family/household who is ill/injured.
b. As a condition of a sick certificate being issued, if the illness/injury persists or worsens, the person/family member should see their GP.
9. Can you back-date sick certificates?
No. These can only be offered at the time that you present with your illness/injury, not for preceeding days.
10. What happens if I don’t get better?
You should see your GP for further evaluation and treatment.
11. Will you extend sick certificates?
We will not extend sick certificates for the same illness beyond the initial allotted time period. Any further extensions of leave require evaluation by your GP.
12. Will my employer accept a sick certificate from the WiC?
Your employer, by law, is able to accept our certificates but may choose not to at their discretion. If there are questions or concerns, please contact your human resources department.
13. What are your hours of operation?
Seven days a week from 7:30 am – 10 pm, including public holidays.
14. Will I see a doctor at the WiC?
No. This is a nurse-led health centre. If you are assessed by the nurse and found to have a medical condition outside the scope of practice of the WiC, they will redirect you to the most appropriate health provider.
15. What is a “scope of practice?”
It describes the limits of what a nurse in the WiC may treat.It is a collection of protocols written by ACT Health with theendorsement of various health care providers.
16. Can you prescribe medications?
a. The nurses in the WiC can supply medications for conditions that fall under the WiC scope of practice. They are not able to provide a written prescription.
b. There are some Nurse Practitioners within the Walk-in Centre who can prescribe a limited number of medications.
c. The nurses are not able to provide a medication for illnesses that have not responded to the initial prescribed treatment. They are not able to provide medications or prescriptionsfor chronic health conditions. WiC nurses cannot alter any medication prescribed by your doctor.
17. I have a wound which I believe has become infected. Can you treat this with antibiotics?
a. At this time nurses in the WiC cannot treat skin or wound infections. You will be assessed and, if found to have a skin or wound infection that requires antibiotics, will be redirected to the most appropriate healthcare provider.
b. However if you see a Nurse Practitioner in the Walk-in Centre antibiotics may be prescribed or supplied.
18. Can you order X-rays?
a. If necessary the WiC nurse may order an X-ray of the limbs. At this time, they cannot order X-rays of the chest, spine, abdomen, hip, head, or shoulders.
b. X-Rays may be accessed via outpatient medical imaging at either The Canberra Hospital or Calvary Health Care ACT between the hours of 08:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
19. If the nurse feels that I must be redirected to the hospital emergency department, can I skip the queue?
No. The WiC does not serve as a triage system for the Emergency Department. You must be re-triaged and assessed by the medical and nursing professionals in the Emergency Department.
20. Will my general practitioner be notified of my visit?
With your permission, a summary of the visit is faxed to your nominated general practitioner or medical centre.
21. I am not a resident of the Australian Capital Territory
(ACT) and am from another State or a visitor from
another country. Can I access WiC services?
Yes, WiC services are free of charge for anyone who presents to
22. How much are consultations?
WiC services are free of charge paid for by the ACT Government.
23. Are you able to perform laboratory testing services
(eg: blood tests)?
Currently we have limited access to laboratory services and point-of-care testing. If deemed necessary by the nurse, urinalysis and pregnancy testing can be performed. If additional testing is needed it must be performed through your general practitioner.
24. Do you take appointments?
No. The WiC offers services on a first-come, first-served basis.
25. Do you provide wound care in the WiC?
a. We do not provide wound care for chronic wounds. If you are unable to see your regular provider, we may provide a one off service at our discretion.
b. We will provide care and advice for wounds after acute injury.
26. Do you remove stiches?
These should normally be removed by your general practitioner/practice nurse. We are able to provide this service at our discretion.
27. I need a medical clearance for return to work. Can you provide this service?
No. This must be issued by your general practitioner.
28. Does the WiC give injections for chronic illness?
No. This must be performed by your regular healthcare provider.
29. I understand that you cannot treat conditions outside of your scope of practice, but I just want an opinion on my minor medical condition. Would you be able to do so?
Yes. The nurses at the WiC can provide advice on common, minor illnesses and injury.
30. How long will I have to wait before being seen?
This will vary depending on the number of clients ahead of you in the queue. As there is no need to make an appointment at the Walk-in Centre, this can change throughout the day. On average, clients wait around half an hour to be seen.
31. What happens if I have an urgent Medical Condition and require an ambulance?
If you attend the Walk-in Centre and an ambulance is called because you require urgent medical attention, ACT legislation places a legal obligation on the person receiving the ambulance service to pay the account even if they didn’t ask for an ambulance. There will be a cost if the ambulance attends even if the ambulance does not transport you to hospital.