Western Sydney’s First General Practice Learning Centre Opens

Blacktown’s new General Practice learning centre means more GPs and health professionals can be trained locally to deliver high quality health care for Western Sydney, Federal Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, said today.

Joining Federal Member for Chifley, Ed Husic, and Federal Member for Greenway, Michelle Rowland, for the WentWest Learning Centre’s official opening ceremony, Ms Plibersek said the facility will provide first-class training to not only GP Registrars, but local General Practitioners, Allied Health Professionals, Practice Nurses, Practice Staff and community groups working in Western Sydney.

“I am delighted that this new learning centre will provide improved education and training for health practitioners in Western Sydney,” Ms Plibersek said.

“We know that when health professionals train in an area, they’re far more likely to stay living and working in that area.

“By opening this learning centre the Federal Government is helping to increase GP numbers in Western Sydney and deliver high quality health care for the local community where they need it, when they need it.”

Ms Rowland said the learning centre is a great solution to the increased demand for learning and education in the region.

“This year alone over 80 GP Registrars will be educated at the centre,” Ms Rowland said.

“The GP Registrars are at different stages of their training, some new to General Practice and others preparing for their Fellowship exams and ready to get out into our community.”

Minister Plibersek and the local Federal Members were also at the learning centre to announce a Federal Government funding partnership aimed at reducing diabetes rates in Western Sydney.

Ms Plibersek said the community partnership would provide coordinated and targeted assistance to help tackle barriers to good health, including awareness of lifestyle risk factors contributing to diabetes.

“I’m proud to announce the Federal Government has awarded the Western Sydney Medicare Local $500,000 to deliver the Western Sydney Diabetes Prevention Program,” Ms Plibersek said.

Mr Husic said the Western Sydney Medicare Local will develop a strong, sustainable primary prevention alliance between key partners in Western Sydney to reduce the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

“Last year I worked with WentWest to hold Diabetes Awareness Forums across Chifley to help inform locals about ways to control and fight diabetes,” Mr Husic said.

“It’s terrific to now see that we can support WentWest in the delivery of the Western Sydney Diabetes Prevention Program.”

The project is part of the Australian Government’s Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Medicare Locals Program, which will focus on improving health outcomes in disadvantaged communities.  A total of seven projects have been funded nationally through the program, with the Government contributing $5.1m over three years from 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Ms Plibersek said the projects are an example of how Medicare Locals provide frontline services to improve health care in their communities – frontline services that would be ripped out should the Coalition come to power.

“Medicare Locals place decision making in the hands of local communities, providing services in areas like allied health, psychology, and childhood immunisation,” Ms Plibersek said.

“These services, and 3,000 frontline health workers, including doctors, nurses, psychologists and social workers, would be slashed under an Abbott Government.

“It’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Liberals’ war on Medicare – billions will be slashed from after hours care, expanded GP surgeries and GP Super Clinics like the one at Blacktown.

“Mr Abbott has form on this issue, he slashed $1 billion from public hospitals when he was health minister.”

“You can’t trust the Liberals when it comes to health care.”

Joint media release ***

Minister for Health

Federal Member for Greenway