An Albanese Labor Government will act on the GP shortage crisis in the Hunter by making the region a Distribution Priority Area (DPA), providing the whole region with access to the Bonded Medical Program and overseas trained doctors.
The Morrison Government’s decision to reclassify parts of this area as a metropolitan area without a GP shortage has meant it is harder than ever for people in our community to see a doctor.
This reclassification came on top of the Liberal Government’s decisions to cut the bulk-billing incentive payment to local GPs and freeze GPs pay for six years.
All of this has meant it’s never been harder or more expensive for people in the Hunter to see their doctor.
Local communities have long known there is a GP crisis across the entire Hunter region.
The Morrison Government has spent years denying the crisis they helped create and has done nothing to resolve it.
Labor initiated the Senate Inquiry into GP shortages and while it is ongoing, evidence presented makes it perfectly clear there is a chronic and severe GP shortage in the Hunter.
In their submission to the inquiry, the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network stated “workforce shortage, geographical distribution and sustainability are key determinants of access to health care for the community”.
This commitment follows Labor’s promise to reverse over $500,000 of annual Liberal cuts to the Hunter’s GP Access After Hours service, securing the future of these crucial after hours healthcare clinics.
This is a vital service which sees 50,000 patients a year and provides 70,000 telephone consultations, alleviating pressure on overstretched hospitals.
It is estimated to save the broader health system almost $22 million per year.
Labor has listened to doctors and the Hunter community.
Only Labor can be trusted to protect and strengthen Medicare and to end the GP crisis in the Hunter region.