A recent piece in the Canberra Times highlighted the path that the ACT Government is setting out for medical practice in the Territory.
We all accept that the provision of healthcare is expensive. What I, as a provider of Primary Healtcare, cannot accept is ACT Health’s apparent solution to this problem.
They have done a short sighted review of the situation and have decided that the problem is those pestly quarrelsome, troublesome and costly Medicos. Get rid of the expensive Doctors (and cutting their pay will do that very nicely, please and thankya) and the problem is supposedly solved.
They have already started this process. Currently there are two Nurse Led Walk In Clinics that are open during business hours and after hours.
These clinics are supposed to be a solution for patients who cannot afford or access GP services. This may have been the case (although this is very much debatable) years ago when the first such clinic opened but it is definitely not the case in 2016 when there are an abundance of GP clinics many of whom Bulkbill.
Instead of looking at the facts of the actual GP availability ACT Government persists in fixing a financial crisis and a perceived, non-existing, lack of access to affordable GP care in the ACT, with an extremely expensive political solution.
The one and only evaluation that was done on the initial nurse-led clinic found that the ACT government was spending FOUR times as much (Territory) money on each consultation that should have been seen by GPs at a cost to the Commonwealth.
It also clearly showed that the vast majority of attendances were for issues that we as Territorians should not be paying – syringing out ear wax and assessing people’s colds are usually not a reason to seek medical help and if it is deserving of an assessment the COMMONWEALTH. should fund this via MEDICARE. In other words – see a GP.
As a GP I am also uncomfortable with the increasing number of times that I observe my patients being issued with antibiotics when they attend these clinics. We live in a world where antibiotic stewardship is a huge issue yet there seem to be no such stewardship in this scenario given that there are apparently none of the checks and balances, or recent reviews, that GPs and other doctors are subject to.
And now the current government is promising more such clinics during the election madness – yet again a political solution to buy votes. Not to mention some of the hare-brained schemes their political opponents are proposing.
Drumroll – observe the next madness.
A multi-million dollar new hospital being built at the University of Canberra. A University with no Medical Faculty. Is it any surprise that the plans seemingly is to have this “hospital” function without any acute services, no theatre and the most minimal of input by any doctors. For all practical purposes a hospital without doctors.
And in the meantime the ever expanding Northside of Canberra languishes without proper access to Paediatric, Plastic surgery and other essential services.
But it is OK – she’ll be right. ACT health is ditching the expensive, useless and superfluous doctors.
Watch this space.