AMA says urgent care centres not solution to Australia’s health crisis

Australian Medical Association

The AMA is unconvinced by Labor’s plan to develop 50 urgent care centres as they will not meaningfully address the major problems facing Australia’s health system.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said the plan acknowledges the costs faced by general practices in opening after hours but instead of enabling thousands of practices across the country to improve their offering to patients, it focusses on only 50 practices, using a model reminiscent of the failed Rudd era GP Super Clinics.

“Medicare reform is urgently needed to enable general practices to deliver the primary care that our patients need. Rather than piecemeal announcements, both major political parties need to tackle the real issues facing our health system and a commitment to properly funding the Government’s 10 Year Primary Health Care Plan implementation would be a good start.”

“The AMA is yet to see a real vision for the health system from any of the major parties – all we have seen so far are short-term suggestions aimed at winning an election.”

“If Labor wants to improve access to after-hours care for Australians, an obvious step would be to amend the definition of ‘after hours’ to commence at 6pm on weekdays and 12 noon on a Saturday. This will increase the Medicare rebate for Australians accessing these services and therefore reduce out of pocket costs. This is just one of the reforms proposed by our Modernise Medicare campaign.”

“The AMA wants a genuine conversation on the future of Australia’s health system. We have provided costed plans that will deliver real improvements to health outcomes while ensuring we have the capacity to respond as our health needs change in coming years. We are yet to see any party join this conversation.”

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