NO CUTS: Minister for health Greg Hunt and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry have denied there will be any cuts to home visiting doctor services.
NO CUTS: Minister for health Greg Hunt and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry have denied there will be any cuts to home visiting doctor services. Contributed RCC

MP Lauga calls on MP Landry to defend funding for home doctor visits in CQ

KEPPEL MP Brittany Lauga has demanded Capricornia MP Michelle Landry stand up against the government for any proposed cuts to after-hours home doctor visits.

The after-hours home doctor visits were used by more than 2 million people last year and Mrs Lauga feared any funding cuts could result in a flood of patients attending emergency departments.

READ: Rocky mum: after-hours doctor saved my son's life

"First the state LNP cuts 197 doctors, nurses and health workers from our region's hospital and health service, and now the Turnbull LNP government are looking to make more cuts,” she said.

"Thousands of extra patients would be forced to seek treatment at Queensland hospitals each year, if the review's recommendation of preventing emergency doctors from providing home visits at night, came to pass.

"Ms Landry needs to send a clear message to her mates in Canberra that Central Queenslanders can't take another hit to their local medical services,” said Mrs Lauga.

OPPOSED TO CUTS: Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga doesn't support cuts to home visit doctors.
OPPOSED TO CUTS: Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga doesn't support cuts to home visit doctors. Orin Lucke - Blink Photography

Ms Landry said there would be no reduction in funding for Medicare with funding at record levels and increasing every year.

"We have an absolutely rock solid commitment to after-hours medical access,” she said.

READ: Government responds to home doctor visit concerns

A spokesperson for Minister for Health Greg Hunt said funding would not be cut to after-hours services, pointing instead to tightening loopholes that presently were being exploited.

"The advice from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is that some of these junior doctors and corporate firms are claiming for items which are not genuinely urgent.

"Access to after-hours medical care is vital, but we also need to have quality and integrity.

"I don't want a situation where corporate giants are simply using the system to make money and take it out of the pockets of GPs in a way that hurts GPs, hurts general practice, and isn't providing quality.”

If you wish to support Mrs Lauga's petition support the Home Doctor Visits go to:

fight4qld.org/savehomedoctorvisits

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners welcomed the after-hours review:

President Dr Bastian Seidel said, "the report recommends Medicare rebates should continue for home visits and after-hours home visits provided by GPs or medical deputising services that may specialise exclusively in after-hours home visits.”

"This would deliver better outcomes for patients because the healthcare provided would be based on the GP's deeper knowledge of the patient's circumstances, better access to their health records and better follow-up to ensure continuity of care.

"The report also found that the current urgent after-hours arrangements supports low-value medical care and doesn't represent value for money for the taxpayer.”

Australian Medical Association:

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon said, "after-hours services should complement the services provided by a patient's usual GP or general practice, not displace them.”

The AMA supports after-hours reform for a number of reasons, including:

- The significant growth in the use of after-hours Medicare items, particularly the use of urgent after-hours items, and the detrimental impact this is having on the link between patients and their usual GP or general practice;

- Concern that direct marketing and the promotion of after-hours home visiting services as being free and easy to access is driving much of this growth, as opposed to genuine patient need;

- Poor communication from some after-hours medical services to a patient's usual GP or General practice - resulting in the fragmentation of care.

GP Deputising Association:

"Members of the Association have held long-standing concerns that some within the Medical Deputising Sector had moved away from the premise of acting for and on behalf of General Practice, to develop business models more focused on consult volume than the delivery of appropriate after hours care that is complementary to, rather than competing with General Practice,” GPDA President Dr Nathan Pinskier said.

"The GPDA was formed by four of the oldest deputising service providers in Australia around a commitment to restore the MDS sector to what it once was. The release of this Preliminary Report is an important step in this process.”

Rural Doctors Association of Australia:

"We strongly welcome restricting 'urgent' afterhours Medicare items to those GPs who work during the day and determine that an after-hours call-out is for the genuinely urgent assessment of a patient,” RDAA President Dr Ewen McPhee.



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