The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, and Federal Labor Candidate for Greenway, Michelle Rowland and the Federal Labor Candidate for Chifley, Ed Husic today met with local GPs and primary health care providers from the Blacktown and Mt Druitt areas to discuss the future of frontline health care services in the region.
Central to the roundtable discussion was the Budget announcement from the Federal Labor Government to invest $355 million to deliver around 23 new GP Super Clinics and around 425 upgrades to existing GP and primary health care services – and how infrastructure investment could provide an important boost for services in the area.
Many Chifley and Greenway doctors will be eligible to apply for an upgrade to their clinics under this initiative.
GP Super Clinics are a key element to delivering better primary health care services and will bring better coordination between privately owned GP services, community health and other state and territory government-funded services.
The upgrades for existing clinics will enable the clinics to expand their facilities with grants of up to $500,000. Grants will be available for practices extending their after hours, expanding their team of health professionals or establish teaching facilities.
Additional services will be made available as a result of the infrastructure investment, with space made available in GP clinics for allied health services, group education (such as diabetes management), counselling and community health promotion.
GP Super Clinics and the upgraded clinics will have the potential to provide a high quality clinical training environment for medical, nursing and allied health professional students and new graduates in addition to prevocational doctors and GP registrars.
Other topics discussed included:
• The $416.8 million announced in the Budget to establish a nation-wide network of primary health care organisations, to be known as Medicare Locals, and how a Medicare Local would work locally;
• New annual incentive payments to help GPs to employ practice nurses, with up to $25,000 per full time GP available for eligible accredited general practices;
• The Federal Labor Government’s announcement of 5,500 new GPs or GPs undergoing training in the next decade ($344.9 million); and 975 places each year for junior doctors to experience a career in general practice during their postgraduate training period ($149.6 million)
Ms Roxon told the roundtable that under the National Health and Hospitals Network Agreement, the Commonwealth would take full funding and policy responsibility for all GP and primary health care services from 1 July 2011.
“I am confident that the health reforms will deliver more doctors and enhanced primary health care services locally.
“I look forward to working with local health professionals to boost frontline GP and primary health care services in the region.”