Labor has announced the seven WA locations it will establish bulk-billing urgent care medical centres, to help alleviate the State’s besieged hospital system, if it wins government.
Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will be established near hospitals in the CBD, Murdoch, Joondalup, Rockingham and Midland across Perth should Labor be elected to power at the May 21 Federal election.
The clinics will also be rolled out to regional centres Bunbury and Broome.
The committent comes as WA Labor, under Premier Mark McGowan, grapples with the State’s worst levels of ambulance ramping on record.
St John paramedics spent more than 5639 hours waiting to transfer patients into WA hospitals last month, the second-worst month for ramping after the 6525 hours recorded last August.
Labor pledged to spend $135 million on creating 50 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics across the country to lure voters ahead of next month’s poll.
Deputy Labor Richard Marles while announcing program’s WA clinic locations in Midland on Monday, said they would “take the pressure of emergency departments, so they can concentrate on saving lives”.
“Right now there is a gap in the healthcare services that are provided to people in Midland, people of WA and in fact to the nation,” Mr Marles said.
“And that gap is non-life threatening, urgent medical care.
“Our emergency departments around Australia are under an unprecedented level of pressure and strain… emergency departments which were designed for once in a lifetime emergencies such as a heart attack or car accident.“They are dealing with a whole lot of urgent, but lesser conditions. . . that’s why Labor has announced, if elected, we will establish 50 urgent care clinics around Australia in areas of greatest need.”
Mr Marles said Australia’s Medicare systems had been stripped of funding by the Coalition Government since it came to power in 2013.
“In the eastern suburbs of Perth alone during the Liberal Government , we’ve seen an increase in out-of-pocket healthcare expenses by 33 per cent,” he said.
“That’s because under this government, we saw Medicare frozen for six years, under this government we’ve seen 900 changes and cuts to Medicare.
“And even today, Scott Morrison’s hand-picked healthcare minister would not rule out further cuts to Medicare if Scott Morrison is re-elected.
Labor’s candidate for the key battleground seat of Hasluck – which encapsulates Midland – Tania Lawrence made the announcement alongside Mr Marles .
“After years of cuts to healthcare under the federal Liberals, the only way to finally see the investment in health that we need in our eastern suburbs is to vote for an Albanese Labor Government,” Ms Lawrence said.