Abbott's local health plan
TONY Abbott’s $3.1 billion health policy is aimed at giving control of hospitals to local boards and replacing Labor’s promised GP Gladstone “super clinic” with expanded GP services.
Mr Abbott is promising to give control of hospitals to local boards and offer incentives for GP clinics to expand and stay open longer.
Instead of super clinics, the Coalition said they would offer more than $350 million in incentives for GPs to build up their clinics by teaming with other health services.
He will increase the Medicare rebate for after-hours GP visits in a bid to encourage more doctors to stay open at night.
The idea behind the super clinics and the open-all-hours plans is to take pressure off public hospitals and emergency rooms by getting more patients treated by GPs.
Central Queensland Australian Medical Association representative Dr Kim Bullwinkle said neither side of politics is seriously “reforming” our health care system.
“None of the policy announcements since the truly ground breaking National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report release has been proper reform,” Dr Bullwinkle said.
“A super clinic that provides a primary health care service when it is required needs 0600 to 2200 hrs opening hours, seven days per week, 365 days per year.
“The clinic needs to be staffed with doctors, nurses, clerical/reception support and security staff.
“The staff need to be paid ‘fair work-place’ remuneration for their efforts and skills with penalty rates in play for any work outside of normal hours.
“All of this is supposed to be paid for by a ‘bulk-billing’ Medicare insurance system rebate that acknowledges the value of this service at a rate that covers the cost of around one minute, 45 seconds of the doctors professional time – barely enough time to politely say ‘good evening’ and what can I do for you today.”
Member for Flynn Chris Trevor said Mr Abbott would not axe the GP Super clinic for Gladstone.
“The Gladstone Regional Council supports the super clinic for Gladstone,” Mr Trevor said. “Tony Abbott’s announcement to increase after-hours access to GP’s and to team up with other health services is exactly what the super clinic will do for the Gladstone community.
“I guess imitation is the best form of flattery.”
Previously, Mr Abbott said within six months of the election, every major public hospital in Queensland would get a local control board and be given control of its budget.
The Coalition has also vowed to cut after-hours GP hotlines, to save money and get the economy out of deficit.