The people of Mallee deserve better access to vital healthcare, not another headline from Labor after this week’s National Cabinet meeting, Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Health Dr Anne Webster says.
The PM has failed to say how $1.2 billion more for Medicare will help with Australia’s thin healthcare workforce, Dr Webster said, noting the Government committed to implement recommendations of the Kruk review into health practitioner regulation without making the final findings public.
“Regional Australians have serious questions about the Prime Minister’s plans to address the primary healthcare crisis,” the Member for Mallee said.
“Labor seems to be doubling down on their failed Urgent Care Clinic policy. The Government has not delivered these clinics on time, they have failed to keep them open for extended hours, and fundamentally taken GP’s from existing practices to put into Urgent Care Clinics, thus robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“Too many Mallee residents have no clinic and no GP. Labor compounded these shortages by changing the distribution priority areas (DPA), driving International Medical Graduates out of regional areas into outer metropolitan areas.”
Thursday’s National Cabinet endorsed an increase of Federal contributions to public hospitals through the National Health Reform Agreement with now a total share 45 per cent, which will be phased in from 1 July 2025 over 10 years.
“It beggars belief that money keeps being thrown into the acute care hospital system, when general practice funding in primary care languishes at a paltry 6.5 per cent of total health spending,” Dr Webster said. “Better primary care funding would reduce the acute care cost burden, because preventative patient care keeps people out of hospitals. It costs the Government just $80.10 to support a patient spending 20-40 minutes with their GP, while an emergency department presentation costs $611 for that same consultation. The simple mathematics for taxpayers – let alone the positive health outcomes – are obvious.
“The PM says he wants ‘a fairer country with a brighter future for all Australians’. Labor needs to get its priorities right and address the unique and dire health access issues facing regional Australians.”