Labor announces new plan for health clinics | Liverpool City Champion
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has defended his $135 million campaign pledge to fund 50 emergency medical care centers across the country, amid criticism it’s a copy of a previous policy.
Mr Albanese kicked off the third day of the election campaign on Wednesday morning at the Greens headquarters in Melbourne, where he announced the clinics’ four-year trial in a bid to relieve clogged hospital emergency departments.
The bulk billing clinics will be based in doctors’ offices and community health centers nationwide and will treat patients requiring urgent care, including broken bones, minor burns and stitches for cuts.
Mr Albanese denied the plan was a recycled policy previously announced for the 2019 federal election.
“It wasn’t the same commitment, it wasn’t the same service,” he told reporters.
“There is a different commitment, a different policy. This policy has been costed.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Labor’s health policy was identical to a proposal put forward by former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
“Now they’re trying to borrow Kevin Rudd’s policies. My suggestion is…try to find (policies) that work,” he said.
Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid said the idea was “superficially appealing”.
“When you scratch the surface, you see a piecemeal model, which further fragments care and does nothing to improve the average patient’s experience in primary care,” he said, adding that the two main parties failed to propose an appropriate reform to modernize Medicare.
“GP practices are struggling to provide the care patients need, and chronically ill patients are ending up in hospitals, flocking out of hospitals and ambulances because we are unable to to properly look after their care in the community. So it’s time to reform Medicare,” he said.
Mr Albanese said families would be able to get the care they needed at the clinics without long waiting times.
“These clinics are a key part of the Labor Party’s plan to bolster Medicare by making it easier to see a doctor,” he said.
“Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will relieve emergency services, so they can focus on saving lives.”
Labor health spokesman Mark Butler said the clinics would be a level of care between a GP clinic and life-saving treatment in the emergency department.
“GPs across the country and community health centers have tried to make this kind of model work, but it just can’t stack up financially under the existing Medicare system,” he told ABC. Radio.
“If we’re going to get that intermediate level of care, the urgent care between GP and hospital care, you’re going to need additional funding.”
Mr Albanese told healthcare workers at a rally in Melbourne’s CBD that the Labor Party was Medicare’s best protector.
Introducing the party leader, deputy leader Richard Marles said Labor would back the health system if it won government.
“Australians will choose who they wake up to on May 22: Morrison or Medicare,” he said.
Mr Albanese said the opposition was listening to the concerns of healthcare workers.
“You are like the roof of our society, our ultimate shelter and protection,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Albanese condemned the actions of a Young Labor activist who confronted the Prime Minister at a private event in Sydney on Tuesday night.
“I saw footage of it and I think this gentleman – I don’t know who he was – his actions were totally inappropriate. We need to have a civil discourse,” he said.
Australian Associated Press