GP clinics continue to close under Albanese Labor Government
Reports of nearly 200 GP clinics around
Australia closing in the past year is deeply concerning, Shadow Assistant
Minister for Regional Health Anne Webster says.
been supplied data from 17 of Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs)
showing at least 184 general practices have closed nationwide, significantly
more than the 60 closures in four years identified by the Royal Australian
College of General Practitioners earlier this year.
“These closures, and
there could be more that aren’t captured by the data, are not being offset by
new clinics,” Dr Webster said.
“This highlights the
crisis our health sector is facing, and this is only exacerbated in regional
Australia under the watch of the Albanese Labor Government.”
Dr Webster said
Labor’s expansion of Distribution Priority Areas as one of Health Minister Mark
Butler’s first decisions since taking office saw 57% of International Medical
Graduate doctors move to urban settings away from regional areas.
“The expansion of
the DPA was a major factor in GP clinics closing in Mallee and around
Australia, there are not enough doctors and Labor’s policy simply funnelled the
workforce to outer suburbs of major cities,” Dr Webster said.
“They have done
nothing to alleviate GP shortages in the regions and these nationwide closures
are simply disastrous for those living in the country.”
Earlier this month
the Nationals Federal Conference backed Dr Webster’s motion to increase the
number of general practitioners in regional Australia by capping Medicare
Provider Numbers in oversupplied metropolitan areas and encouraging doctors to
take up provider numbers in rural, regional and remote Australia.
“One of the key
outcomes of the Mildura Regional Health Workforce Summit I convened in March
was identifying the need for policy that makes moving to the regions viable for
doctors and all health professionals,” Dr Webster said.
“This policy of
capping provider numbers, with an activity test to ensure enough provider
numbers are issued in regional Australia to guarantee adequate full-time
equivalent GPs, will help turn the harmful tide Minister Butler and the
Albanese Labor Government are presiding over.”