Re end to bulk billing Bay Post June 10: It is distressing to hear of the closure of Blue House Surgery Narooma and the intention of the only 100 per cent bulkbilling practices at Narooma Medical and Specialist Centre and Tuross Head Medical to move to a mixed billing model.
This also threatens the proposed opening of a 100 per cent bulkbilling practice in Bega. As a medical practitioner, I fully appreciate the financial demands of running a medical practice. Like any small business, there are the costs of overheads such as rent, fit out, staff wages, insurances, disposables and consumables.
Any loss of a General Practice is a devastating blow to a community. Apart from their daily General Practice duties, these rural GPs train General Practice registrars, medical students, fulfil hospital VMO duties including inpatient care, anaesthetics, obstetrics and emergencies.
They provide essential services to the residents of aged care facilities. There is a shortage of General Practitioners across the Bega electorate. Waiting times for appointments are excessive, many General Practices have closed their books to new patients and now there is a shortage of bulkbilling options.
There is difficulty attracting and retaining General Practitioners in the region. This results in healthcare users delaying treatment which affects their health or utilising inappropriate services such as Accident & Emergency departments. Primary Health services locally need to be developed according to the following outcomes:
Local, State and Federal Governments need to work together with Primary Health Networks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients. The new Federal Labor Government has promised almost $1 billion in new Medicare and primary-health funding.
A "Strengthening Medicare" fund aims to improve patient access to GPs particularly after hours in order to reduce the burden on Accident & Emergency departments. This should help with the improved management of the increasing number of complex and chronic conditions which is occurring as a result of our ageing population.
Grant funding will assist staff training, upgrading telehealth and improving medical equipment. The new Federal Labor Government has committed to the establishment of an Urgent Care Clinic in Batemans Bay. This clinic will be open from 8am to 10pm.
Patients will be bulkbilled. I will be working with the Federal Member for Eden-Monaro and the Federal Member for Gilmore to improve health services in the Bega electorate. I have already organised Health Forums in Bega on July 2 and Moruya on July 9 to hear from my constituents including nurses, doctors and other health care workers.
It is interesting indeed to note that because The Australian Capital Territory- ACT, successfully, in 2020, made the transition to 100per cent renewable energy, electricity costs in Canberra will actually decrease in 2022-23.
The example set by the ACT will surely be watched with considerable interest across Australia where increasing energy costs are causing an energy crisis.
Well done to the mighty Socceroos for making the world cup for the sixth time. An early morning start was worth it as the boys in green and gold secured a spot in Qatar after a nail-biting penalty shootout.
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