03/06/2016 - 12:26

St John buys medical clinics

03/06/2016 - 12:26


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St John Ambulance WA has bought a Perth-based healthcare company as part of a plan to provide urgent care centres across the metropolitan area, and help alleviate pressure on emergency services.

Paramedics Drew Aris and Steve Young with CEO Tony Ahern at Apollo Health, Cockburn Gateway.

UPDATED: St John Ambulance WA has bought a Perth-based healthcare company for $22.8 million, as part of a plan to provide urgent care centres across the metropolitan area and help alleviate pressure on emergency services.

The value of the purchase, which was brokered by West Perth firm Ascend Corporate, was not disclosed at the time of the deal but was subsequently revealed in St John's 2015-16 annual report. 

Apollo Health currently operates four clinics in Perth and had three directors at the time of its purchase - Greg Hunt (formerly of Greg's Discount Chemist group), Tim Haggett (a director with corporate expertise at Gemini Medical in Australia and Centric Health in Ireland) and Malcolm Parmenter (recently appointed CEO of Primary Health Care, previously with Sonic Healthcare and Independent Practitioner Network).

From next month, St John will operate three clinics – Cockburn, Joondalup and Armadale – as it rolls out a strategy to move into primary health care. 

Initially, the Joondalup and Cockburn clinics will operate as urgent care centres, offering an alternative for patients who require immediate care but not emergency services. Patients can still be seen by a doctor in a timely manner and receive suitable medical attention without emergency hospital admittance.

Over time, the Armadale clinic will also operate under this model.

The clinics will bulk-bill for service and operate on a walk-in basis.

 St John chief executive Tony Ahern said the purchase of Apollo Health to create urgent care centres would help take the pressure off emergency services by redirecting large numbers of non-emergency cases to one of these centres.

“Urgent care centres globally have been successful in achieving a number of positive outcomes such as reducing stress on emergency departments, reducing ambulance ramping and delivering the most appropriate care to the community,” he said.

“As the leading provider of ambulance services and the gateway to the health system for unscheduled care, St John has recognised the challenges facing our health care system as our population grows and our ability to fund and provide the health services needed is becoming more difficult.”

 “St John believes that facilitating investing in alternate care pathways for unscheduled care is the best way to address these challenges and continue to deliver the most appropriate health service outcomes for people in need.”

For 2014-15, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported public hospital emergency department presentations for Western Australia at 803,821, a significant increase from 742,615 in 2013-2014.

Of these presentations in WA only 97,088 (12 per cent) were classed as an emergency compared with the 272,590 filed as urgent and 370,314 as semi-urgent. Non-urgent cases numbered 57,848. 


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