Anthony Albanese is promising to give GPs grants of up to $50,000 if he wins the election as part of a package Labor says will ease pressure on hospitals and give patients more access to afterhours care.
A special taskforce would also be set up to oversee a new “strengthening Medicare fund”, with Labor promising to spend an extra $750 million on this over the next four years.
The Health Minister would chair the taskforce but would work with medical groups including the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
It would make recommendations on how to spend the fund to improve patient access to GPs, including after-hours, make healthcare more affordable and ease pressure on stretched hospital systems.
Labor would spend $220 million on a GP grants program which would give practices funds between $25,000 and $50,000 to upskill staff, purchase new equipment and upgrade IT systems to help with telehealth consultations and make other improvements.
Feel like giving the politicians a rating this Federal election?
Our Pollie Rater lets you do just that.
Grants would be determined by GP size.
Mr Albanese said he was continually hearing from the community that it was getting “more difficult to see a doctor”.
“General practice is the cornerstone of the Australian health system. Australians trust their GPs. It’s a vital relationship in ensuring all Australians get the quality healthcare they deserve,” he said.
Shadow health minister Mark Butler claimed primary health care was in crisis.
“Our local GPs were at the coalface of the COVID pandemic, providing COVID and vaccination advice, administering vaccines, and trying to keep up with their usual case load with little or no support from the Morrison Government,” he said.
WA has seen unprecedented pressures on its health system in recent weeks with ambulance ramping and the recent deaths of patients who died while waiting for care.
WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson has taken aim at the Commonwealth for leaving patients waiting for aged care and NDIS packages in hospitals.
Health has not, however, been a major Federal election issue so far with leaders debates more focused on the economy.
The AMA has called for whoever wins Government to agree to a 50-50 hospital funding split with the States.
Mr Morrison has rejected the idea and claimed if this happened States would cut their funding. Mr Albanese has also not committed to it, but said he would work with State leaders.