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'GP Super Clinics' an injection for a sick Government

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Andrew Southcott 

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Healthcare 

‘GP Super Clinics’ an injection for a sick Government 21/10/10

‘GP Super Clinics’ are designed to help the health of the Gillard Labor Government, not the health of Australians.

Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, Jane Halton, yesterday told a Senate estimates committee hearing that it was not the responsibility of the Department to choose the sites of the ‘Super Clinics’.

What later became clear is there is in fact no criteria for choosing a site other than one of political convenience.

A spokesperson for the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, told the Sydney Morning Herald that an area must satisfy either a criterion of “high population growth, poor access to GPs or low socio-economic status”.

What the spokesperson forgot to say is that being located in a marginal seat, while not essential, is viewed extremely favourably.

Nicola Roxon is pouring over electorate maps and thumbing through street directories, deciding which marginal seats need a ‘helping hand’, while Australia’s healthcare system takes a backseat.

The ‘GP Super Clinic’ model is more about sandbagging vulnerable Government Members rather than improving primary healthcare. And, in the process of trying to further the Labor cause, they are putting existing general practices in jeopardy.

It’s a case of undercutting and creating unfair competition for those existing practices who have invested considerable time and effort into their communities, all for the sake of advancing their own political agenda.

Improving Australia’s primary healthcare system is a priority for the Coalition. We just don’t believe we need to threaten the viability of existing practices in order to achieve this end. The Coalition believes a better solution is to build on the capacity of existing practices, allowing them to expand, rather than reinvent the wheel with taxpayers’ money.