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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23267

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:

That the Carrington Medical Centre is soon to become the latest casualty in the Newcastle and Hunter Region's worsening doctor shortage crisis;

This is the only General Practice (GP) service in Carrington;

That almost 50 medical jobs are vacant across the Newcastle and Hunter regions, which cannot be filled;

That Newcastle is currently 20 to 30 GP's short of what it should have;

That Carrington residents will no longer have access to local bulk billing services;

That the rate of bulk billing by GP's in Newcastle has already plummeted by 12% in the last two years under the Howard Government;

That the average out-of-pocket cost to see a GP in Newcastle who does not bulk bill has increased to $12.70 today;

That the John Hunter and Mater hospital emergency departments are now under greater pressure because people are finding it harder to see bulk billing doctors;

That the Howard Government policies have clearly failed to address the doctor shortage or restore bulk billing services in Newcastle and the Hunter Region.

We therefore ask the House to take urgent steps to address the alarming shortage of doctors in Carrington and the Newcastle and Hunter Region and reject the Howard Government's plan to end universal bulk billing so that Carrington residents and all Australians have access to the health care they need and deserve.

by Ms Grierson (from 187 citizens)