Australian Greens Health Spokesperson and former GP, Dr Richard Di Natale, said today that the Abbott Government’s plan to replace 61 Medicare Locals with 30 Primary Healthcare Networks was a backward step.
“The value of Medicare locals is that they helped to coordinate health services in a unique way so that they cater for local needs,” said Senator Di Natale, Deputy Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Health.
“Replacing 61 Medicare Locals with 30 larger Primary Healthcare Networks undermines the capacity for local coordination.
“There is nothing "local" about a health network that covers an area larger than most European countries.
“In places like West Australian, South Australia and Queensland Primary Healthcare Networks will look more like state government health departments than tailored programs aimed at improving patient care.
“The Government’s Primary Healthcare Network model will make it harder to provide targeted services to Indigenous people and those living in regional Australia.
“At the same time as gutting the Medicare Local Network the Abbot Government is also ripping $50 billion out of public hospitals over the next decade. Effectively the Federal Government is washing its hands of health and handing it over to underfunded state and territory governments.”
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