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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 1876

Mr HUNT (Flinders) (22:21): I want to talk about the ongoing fight for better health services in the electorate of Flinders, in particular in the precincts of Hastings, Rosebud and the southern peninsula, and Phillip Island and the Bass Coast. We have made progress in all three areas in recent times, even though there have been some challenges and setbacks. Most recently, in the Hastings area, we have seen the town hit by the recent closure of the Hastings Medical Centre. The town as a consequence only has one clinic, known as the Hastings Clinic.

Against that background, what we have set out to do is to work firstly with Peninsula Health, which has purpose-built medical rooms at the Hastings Community Health Centre from which it currently operates paediatric and antenatal clinics. Peninsula Health is working towards securing GPs to operate from these medical rooms and we are hopeful of an announcement soon. I would respectfully say to the board of Peninsular Health: 'Let not the perfect to be the enemy of the good. Do not seek too high a rent which would prevent doctors coming in and, firstly, participating and, secondly, offering bulk-billing services.' If these rooms are vacant, it is far better to have somebody in what is currently a great but, tragically, empty facility with regard to the GP rooms.

The second thing that is being done in relation to Hastings is that Neale Burgess, the state member for Hastings, and I are already in discussions with the Crib Point Medical Centre and there is work afoot to try to attract those doctors to open a second facility, this time in Hastings. They have been part of a broad-ranging program in Tooradin, Baxter, Crib Point and soon in Rosebud. That group of doctors will have established clinics in all four towns, so a fifth clinic in Hastings would be a real breakthrough. In the same vein, the Crib Point Medical Centre itself currently has surplus capacity. So I urge Hastings residents to make use of the Crib Point Medical Centre as an interim measure while we look to advance the Hastings Community Health Centre or to set up an additional clinic in Hastings involving and associated with those who have set up the Tooradin, Baxter, Crib Point and soon-to-be Rosebud clinics.

This brings me to Rosebud. In Rosebud I am delighted that a new medical clinic, the Advantage Medical Centre, is about to open its doors. I will support any new clinic which comes to the area, and this is the latest. It is a tremendous boost for the town. It gives local residents greater choice and flexibility and, along with a project which the member for Bowman helped inspect recently when he was in Flinders representing the Leader of the Opposition, it offers a great step forward. That project is the acquisition of a CAT scan for the public health services, which in turn will help lift the standing, the status and the longevity of the Rosebud Hospital.

The hospital itself is not under threat but its services have diminished, and to offer a CAT scan facility has a double impact. It offers the CAT scan advantages but it also allows greater training and therefore greater attraction of young medical professionals. It is about attracting, retaining and developing staff. That is why it is such an important step forward.

This brings me to the third area within the electorate of Flinders, which is the Bass Coast. I am particularly delighted that the Bass Coast Community Health Service is establishing aged care nurse practitioner clinics in Corinella, Grantville and San Remo. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who functions in an advanced and extended clinical role, and who plays a critical role where a doctor is not directly available. They are very important to local communities and can make a huge difference in some of these small towns.

And the next step is a very important one. That is to bring together the funds from the Warley Hospital trust with federal funding and to work with the Bass Coast Community Health Service to secure expanded medical services for Phillip Island—a community health hub which, hopefully, will offer many of the features of a hospital and which will offer the community what it has lost. It will redress the balance which was taken away by this government. (Time expired)