It has long been recognised that residents in the South East, especially the Eurobodalla and Bega districts, are finding it harder and harder to see a GP, access emergency care, maternity, neo-natal and paediatric health services, and their already strained household budgets are being hit by the rising out of pocket cost to see a GP.
Out of-pocket costs to see a GP in the South Coast electorate of Gilmore have gone up by 46 per cent.
Local groups have sought to be heard for nearly a decade over the affordability and access issues, especially around the opportunities to bulk bill when budgets don't allow for out of pocket expenses, but there has been no response.
Recognising the concerns and advocating for a solution the Federal Member for Gilmore was pleased to be able to announce today that under Labor, families in Gilmore and across the South Coast will get the bulk billed urgent medical care they need, without having to wait hours at over-burdened hospital emergency departments.
The Federal member, joined by Richard Marles MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition
and Mark Butler MP, Shadow Minister For Health And Ageing were in Batemans Bay
today listening to the concerns of residents.
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition advised that, if elected, a Labor Government will fund Medicare Urgent Care Clinics to be based at GP surgeries and Community Health Centres in at least 50 locations across Australia that would include delivering a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic at Batemans Bay.
Ms Phillips explained that "Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will take the pressure off hospital emergency departments by providing an alternative option for families needing urgent care from a doctor or nurse. They will treat sprains and broken bones, cuts, wounds, insect bites, minor ear and eye problems and minor burns.
Care will be bulk billed, meaning families won’t be out-of-pocket for having a loved one attended to, just like if they’d gone to a public hospital.
They’ll be open seven days a week from at least 8am to 10pm – the time when the majority of non-life-threatening injuries occur."
"Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will relieve pressure on hospitals, and free up dedicated nurses and doctors at hospital emergency departments so they can focus on providing care for serious and life-threating presentations.
"Each clinic will differ in size and structure, and the Urgent Care Clinic at Batemans Bay in Gilmore will be tailored to meet the needs of the local community.
"The commitment is to invest over $135 million across four years to establish a trial of 50
Medicare Urgent Care Clinics. Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler said “Medicare Urgent Care Centres are a practical, tangible example of Labor’s commitment to strengthen Medicare and make it easier for families to access care.
The Local Federal member said “Medicare is the bedrock of our health system and by using it to help take the pressure off hospital emergency departments we make can the whole system stronger.” “We’re in the middle of a full-blown healthcare crisis here on the South Coast and we’ve been on the receiving end of cuts and neglect caused by Federal and State Liberal Governments for years.
“It should be getting easier, not harder, to see a GP. But the out of pocket cost to see one is getting even higher, which is the last thing our community needs when we are already struggling with the cost of living.
“That’s why I’ve been fighting for better health services for everyone in our community, and I’m so pleased that if elected, a Labor Government will build an Urgent Care Clinic in Batemans Bay.
“This will make it easier for people to see a GP and increase access to bulk billing so people don’t have to pay those out of pocket costs,” Ms Phillips said.