Doc­tors ques­tion su­per-clinic ef­fects

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

From Health cover ser­vices pro­vided would vary de­pend­ing on lo­cal needs, said a spokesman for op­po­si­tion health spokes­woman Ni­cola Roxon. There is no guar­an­tee the clin­ics would pro­vide afterhours care or di­ag­nos­tic or phar­macy ser­vices.

‘‘ We will un­der­take ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties about what they want and make sure that ser­vices are tai­lored to lo­cal needs,’’ the spokesman said.

Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Rosanna Capolin­gua said the plan pro­vided no real in­cen­tives for doc­tors to move to rural ar­eas. ‘‘ We also have con­cerns that that su­per-clin­ics in larger re­gional ar­eas would tempt doc­tors away from smaller coun­try towns, leav­ing them with­out doc­tors and with­out any hope of at­tract­ing new doc­tors.

‘‘ An­other big prob­lem is that the GP su­per­clin­ics will be a closed shop for doc­tors who will ex­clu­sively bulk-bill pa­tients. There is also an over-es­ti­ma­tion of mo­bile med­i­cal work­force num­bers, and an un­der­es­ti­ma­tion of the costs of es­tab­lish­ing and run­ning a new med­i­cal prac­tice.’’

How­ever Tim Woodruff, pres­i­dent of the Doc­tors Re­form So­ci­ety, says the fund­ing model should be re­versed so that money was al­lo­cated to an area of need, rather than pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives to doc­tors.

‘‘ Money goes to doc­tors, not to ar­eas of need. We and the Aus­tralian Health­care Re­form Al­liance in­stead sug­gest that pooled fund­ing should be al­lo­cated to re­gions to spend ap­pro­pri­ately.

‘‘ Then they will have a fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive to at­tract staff, and the right in­fra­struc­ture and do all of the things that need to be done. The cur­rent sys­tem not only dis­cour­ages doc­tors from go­ing to the coun­try, it en­cour­ages peo­ple to stay in the city.’’

The Aus­tralian Gen­eral Prac­tice Net­work, how­ever, backed the pro­posal, claim­ing the clin­ics would re­duce pres­sure on pub­lic hos­pi­tals. ‘‘ GP su­per-clin­ics al­low for a holis­tic approach to keep­ing the com­mu­nity health­ier,’’ AGPN ceo Kate Car­nell said. ‘‘ We know that a prac­tice nurse ex­plain­ing bet­ter asthma man­age­ment to the GP’s pa­tient, or hav­ing a di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor in the clinic, sees im­proved pa­tient out­comes and goes along way in keep­ing peo­ple out of hospi­tal.’’

Ac­cord­ing to and Hos­pi­tals the Aus­tralian Health­care As­so­ci­a­tion, more than 500,000 Aus­tralians ev­ery year go to hospi­tal for health prob­lems that could have been pre­vented or treated in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘ This makes no eco­nomic sense,’’ AHHA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Prue Power said. ‘‘ It puts un­nec­es­sary pres­sure on out pub­lic hospi­tal sys­tem and is a waste of our scarce health re­sources. Pro­vid­ing GPs with the sup­port of prac­tice nurses, prac­tice man­agers and al­lied health pro­fes­sion­als will help them de­liver bet­ter health care, and in par­tic­u­lar en­able them to fo­cus on pre­ven­ta­tive health and chronic dis­ease man­age­ment.’’

Fed­eral Health Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott said the Howard Gov­ern­ment was al­ready pro­vid­ing fund­ing for GPs to ex­tend the ser­vices they pro­vide. ‘‘ Since 2004, the Howard Gov­ern­ment’s Round the Clock Medi­care pro­gram has pro­vided fund­ing sup­port to over 160 or­gan­i­sa­tions na­tion­ally to pro­vide afterhours pri­mary med­i­cal care ser­vices, and in­creased Medi­care re­bates for af­ter-hour GP at­ten­dances.’’

The $106 mil­lion pro­gram of­fers sub­si­dies of up to $200,000 per year for up to three years for new or re­cently es­tab­lished afterhours GP ser­vices.

Pic­ture: Kym Smith

Crit­i­cal: AMA pres­i­dent Rosanna Capolin­gua fears su­per-clin­ics will dis­ad­van­tage small towns, al­ready poorly ser­viced

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.