Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    Call to reform ‘broken’ primary care system
    Health Care

    Call to reform ‘broken’ primary care system

    Victorian and New South Wales have banded together to ramp up pressure on the federal government to overhaul Australia’s ailing primary care network through national cabinet this year, The Guardian reports.

    Visiting a newly opened urgent primary care clinic in Melbourne, the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, said state-run hospitals were too often acting as a safety net amid an ongoing shortage of bulk-billing general practitioners.

    “This is not our job,” Andrews said, while visiting the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre on Tuesday.

    “That system is broken. You cannot find a bulk-billing doctor, particularly out of hours, and that’s not the way it should be.

    “That’s why this needs to be a key priority for reform around the national cabinet table in 2023.”

    Andrews expressed confidence other state and territory leaders would join Victoria in pressuring the Albanese government to embark on reforming the system this year.

    “We can’t have a situation where Medicare doesn’t work and all of those patients, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of patients across the nation, are forced into already busy emergency departments,” he said.

    Andrews found an immediate ally in his NSW counterpart, Dominic Perrottet, who said fixing the health system was Australia’s “most urgent national priority”.

    “It is the biggest challenge facing our country,” Perrottet said.

    “When you go through a pandemic and you see the pressure on the system, we need to reform Medicare.

    “We need to have our public state health system working in support of the GP network. At the moment they are working against each other.”

    In August, NSW and Victoria both pledged to open 25 urgent primary care clinics to limit lower-level patients clogging up emergency departments when unable to secure an appointment with a bulk-billing GP.


    Daniel Andrews and Dominic Perrottet call for reforms to Australia’s ‘broken’ primary care system (The Guardian)