GP super clinic review could lead to closures

EVERY GP super clinic in the country faces extra financial scrutiny through a tender for an independent audit that could lead to some closures.

The 61 clinics proposed and already operating - including Gladstone - under the multi-billion program, which Health Minister Peter Dutton has previously labelled a "waste of money", will be reviewed under a tender sought for independent advice by the Health Department.

It comes as the department also prepares to give Mr Dutton the final report of an over-arching review of the GP super clinics program next month, which has already resulted in three clinics closing.

Tender documents show the new review will also include advice on "mitigation options" for the department to consider, which could include changes to financial arrangements, the closure of some clinics or transferring some clinics to new providers.

Gladstone GP Super Clinic's director says the centre has improved health services in town.

"I can say with confidence that the Gladstone GP Super Clinic is making a sterling effort in easing the pressure on the Gladstone Hospital," Dr John Bird said.

However, the Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Shaun Rudd said super clinics had been given an "unfair advantage" over existing GPs and supported a federal examination into them.

Dr Rudd said there had been varying levels of success with super clinics across the state.

"Some of the clinics have been very successful, while some haven't opened at all or opened without enough doctors," he said.

"There was a lot of Federal Government money spent on giving them an unfair advantage. In almost all of the areas they opened there were plenty of GPs up and running."

But Dr Bird said the super clinic provides services independent GPs could not offer.

"The super clinic has brought together an array of allied health services under the one roof to provide co-ordinated and integrated care to the people of Gladstone."

- APN Newsdesk



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