Posted by Jim McDonald on January 3, 2011
I raised the alarm as the Greens candidate for Wide bay at the probable closure of after hours GP services in Noosa after speaking to the doctors during the Federal election.
Unfortunately, the media did not take up the issue when publicity could have had the greatest effect.
This is the very situation the Federal Labor Government’s promised health reform program in primary care is supposed to address. The present grant system of $100,000 a year over two years is ending and the Noosa GP After Hours Service faces closure.
Without further, secure funding we will be left without an accessible after hours service and it will place pressure on all emergency services in the region.
The Noosa After-hours GP service was initiative provided by some doctors in the town. Now, after-hours patients requiring GP assistance will have longer waiting hours in emergency rooms.
Although Noosa Hospital provides rooms free of charge, the level of funding is barely sufficient to allow the Service to get by with minimal doctor payments and employing a nurse is out of the question. Yet, the after hours surgery saves about 50% of the costs that would be incurred by each GP patient accessing the Emergency Department.
I call upon the Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, and the Shadow Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, to guarantee ongoing funding for the Noosa GP After Hours Service from January 2011 so that Noosa residents can be confident that they will continue to have access to a doctor when the regular medical clinics are closed.
Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson for Noosa, Letter to editor, Sunshine Coast Daily, 3 December 2010