The Coast's first bulk-billed urgent care clinic (UCC) in Devonport has opened its doors on December 11 after a delay of about six months. However, it comes as questions are already being asked about the reduced opening hours of the new UCC in Steele Street, two in Hobart and one in Launceston with more patients arriving than those funded to see. The federally funded UCCs provide free medical care for patients requiring urgent and not life-threatening care, to reduce pressure in hospital emergency departments (ED). Devonport's My Clinic Plus UCC will treat walk-in patients for about half the operating hours first announced by federal Labor in 2022, which were seven days a week from 8am to 10pm. Initially, the Devonport UCC is funded for 40 patients per day over six hours, from 2pm to 8pm, the same arrangement as the Launceston UCC, which exceeded its daily patient limit since it opened. The clinics in Hobart open from 4pm to 10pm in Bathurst Street and 12pm to 8pm in Liverpool Street. Federal Health Minister Mark Butler's spokesperson said that in some cases, UCCs may operate for reduced hours during the initial phase. "However, as the [Devonport] clinic continues to operate, hours will be extended where possible to meet demand based on local need," the spokesperson said. "The three Medicare UCCs that have been opened progressively since July 31 2023 in Tasmania have already seen over 5000 presentations." It's understood recruiting more GPs to stay open longer will be a challenge for the Devonport UCC, based on the existing three-year funding deal that would not accommodate it. During Senate question time last week, Jacqui Lambie Network Senator for Tasmania Tammy Tyrrell raised her concerns about the reduced opening hours of the Devonport UCC, saying it was not what Labor promised in 2022. Senator Tyrrell questioned if the Devonport UCC's reduced hours would ease the pressure on the Mersey Community Hospital ED as intended. "When Labor made their grand announcement about UCCs last year, they said the clinics would be open from 8am to 10pm. That's not what's been delivered in Devonport," Senator Tyrrell said. "Labor says they will extend the opening hours of the clinics 'over time.' "But there's no guarantee about when that'll happen or how long it'll take. "Tassie's health system is in crisis. "People can't see a doctor when they need one. "Labor recognises we need more funding to fix this. Well, a good place to start would be making sure these UCCs are running as promised." Labor Senator Katie Gallagher representing Mr Butler said in establishing the UCCs there were a number where the government was working with the providers regarding reduced hours that were expected to get extended over time. Senator Gallagher said it was a new model not implemented before and that in certain areas, changes had been made to the hours of operation based on negotiations with service providers. She said the expectation was that clinics would open from 8am until 10pm at a later date.