Federal Liberals to shut down Medicare Locals and cut healthcare services

Federal Liberals to shut down Medicare Locals and cut healthcare services

Chifley Federal MP Ed Husic has today warned that the Liberal Party’s latest plans to shut down Medicare Locals would see important health services cut, jobs lost and would hurt local families.

Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton told Parliament yesterday that he’d sack 3,000 “bureaucrats” who worked at Medicare Locals such as Blacktown’s WentWest.

Responding to a question asked by in Parliament by Mr Husic, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek confirmed that the “bureaucrats” the Liberal Party would sack from Medicare Locals include frontline health workers such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, and speech pathologists.

“The party that killed Medibank now wants to kill Medicare Locals,” Minister Plibersek told Parliament.

According to Mr Husic the Federal Liberals plans to close Medicare Locals like Wentwest coincides with State Liberal Government plans to shut Mt Druitt Hospital’s Cardiac Ward and slash $20m from the Western Sydney Local Health District budget.

“At a Federal and State level it’s clear that the Liberal Party doesn’t care about providing quality healthcare to Mt Druitt, Blacktown and the surrounding suburbs.

“This is in spite of the fact that Medicare Locals employ to deliver vital service to our community – helping tackle big healthcare issues such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

“Only two weeks ago I joined the Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Greenway MP
Michelle Rowland to officially open the new General Practice Learning Centre delivered by WentWest, our Medicare Local.

“This centre will provide additional training places for GP Registrars, local General Practitioners, Allied Health Professionals, Nurses and Practice Staff.”

The Health Minister also announced the Federal Government had awarded the Western Sydney Medicare Local $500,000 to deliver its Western Sydney Diabetes Prevention Program.

“Diabetes is a big issue in our community and I’m concerned that this program may not see the light of day,” Mr Husic said.

The Liberal Party’s announcement coincided with the release of the latest bulk billing figures that showed Chifley has the country’s highest rate for bulk billed services.

“At the end of 2012, Chifley had a 99.1% Medicare bulk billing rate up 97.9% in 2003 before Tony Abbott as health minister, slashed $1 billion from public hospitals and lied about not touching the Medicare Safety Net before an election.

“Despite all the investment we have made into local healthcare, it’s clear that the Liberals will cut jobs and slash health services in our area.”