Health announcement shows misguided investment and wrong priorities: RACGP

Royal Australian College of GPs

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has warned the federal Government that it has the wrong priorities when it comes to addressing Australia’s healthcare needs.

It comes following the Government announcing an additional 29 urgent care clinics as part of an $8.5 billion federal government investment in health in next week’s Budget.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins labelled today’s announcement a misguided investment.

“There is no substitute for the for personalised quality care delivered by a GP who knows you and your history,” she said.

“The urgent care clinics will make some difference, but the Government should be boosting investment in general practice care so that no patients anywhere are left behind. There is no greater health need right now than supporting people struggling with their mental health and suffering from chronic conditions. That’s why we are calling on the Government to prioritise funding to ensure mental health and chronic disease care is affordable for all patients.

“Instead, the Government has chosen to continue its misguided policy of rolling out what it calls urgent care clinics. Urgent care clinics take years to roll out, create confusion for the public, and disrupt the care people usually receive from their regular GP. These clinics are also likely to redirect limited general practice workforce capacity away from regular clinics where they are needed most.

“Every year more than 22 million Australians choose to see a GP for essential healthcare. They deserve an affordable system.”

Dr Higgins say there is no doubt that the biggest health issues confronting Australians is chronic disease and mental illness, but funding for these items is missing from today’s announcement.

“This looks like a missed opportunity,” she said.

“Chronic disease and mental health concerns are among the top three reasons people seek care from their GP. The fact these measures don’t seem to be included in the Government’s $8.5 billion health Budget, shows the Government has the wrong priorities for fixing our health system.

“We know funding gets results. Boosting funding for mental health and chronic conditions will improve affordability, access, and health outcomes for those most in need. It is bitterly disappointing that the Government has chosen to go another way. They really do appear to have their priorities all wrong.”

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About the RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

/Public Release.