Labor will help fix local GP shortage

Labor will help fix local GP shortage Main Image

29 May 2022

An Albanese Labor Government will act on the GP shortage crisis in the Greater Geelong Region by making the region a Distribution Priority Area (DPA), providing the whole region with access to the Bonded Medical Program and overseas trained doctors.

Making the announcement local Federal MP, Libby Coker, said she was shocked at the depth of the crisis in GP clinics and medical centres around the region following calls to assess local GP availability.

“I am extremely concerned about the situation,” Ms Coker said. “We’ve known for a long time that there are real issues in GP recruitment, but the situation locally is now dire. After ringing around a number of local GP and medical services it’s crystal clear we are now at a crisis point.”

“People can’t get in to see a GP at short notice, and many services have stopped taking on new clients altogether. Services are turning away people who have already rung three or four other places.

“We have thousands of new people moving into the electorate, mostly families with young kids, and a lot of retirees. Because they are new to the area, they are really struggling to access services. Young children can deteriorate rapidly, as can the elderly. They should be able to get GP services when they need it.

“For too long the Morrison Government has neglected calls for assistance from local GP clinics who have been experiencing significant difficulties finding and retaining doctors. We need to act decisively.

“Local GPs are telling me there are patients ringing up every day being turned away and the medical profession is in crisis.

“I am being told it’s the number 1 issue for local GPs and there are clearly not enough GPs to serve the local community.”

The Liberal Government removed the Designated Workforce Shortage (DWS) status for the Greater Geelong Region, which has had devastating impacts on local clinics.

This reclassification came on top of the Liberal Government’s decisions to cut the bulk-billing incentive payment to local GPs and freeze GP pay for six years. All of this has meant it’s never been harder or more expensive for people to see their doctor.

Labor initiated the Senate Inquiry into GP shortages and, while it is ongoing, evidence presented makes it perfectly clear there is a chronic and severe GP shortage in Greater Geelong.

Only an Albanese Labor Government will protect Medicare and make it easier for people in Corangamite to see a doctor.