‘Who will care for all Australians?’ Major parties pushed to show their hands ahead of election

Matt Woodley

10/05/2019 10:31:07 AM

The RACGP has challenged both sides of politics to reveal their primary healthcare policies, placing full-page ads in multiple major newspapers.

RACGP letter
The open letter has been published in major newspapers across the country.

The advertisements, which take the form of an open letter written by RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon, addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, asks a simple question: ‘Who will care for all Australians?’
It then goes on to point out that while the Coalition and Labor have made billions of dollars’ worth of health promises during the campaign, neither has announced any major investments in primary healthcare.
Specifically, the advertisements call for the provision of flexible access to care by formalising the patient–GP relationship, and for government to support longer consultations for complex care and patients with mental health issues.
It also advocates a preventive approach to healthcare that covers existing gaps and serves as an equaliser for disenfranchised Australians who are otherwise unable to access healthcare.
‘Unlike most medical specialties, GPs are at the forefront of patient healthcare,’ the letter states.
‘They see almost 90% of the Australian population in a year, including many of society’s most vulnerable people, such as those with cancer, dementia, pensioners, Indigenous Australians, people on very low incomes, homeless, elderly, and people with mental illness.
‘This election is about health. Both major parties need to release their primary healthcare policy so Australians can decide.’
In a letter to members explaining the rationale behind the advertisements, Dr Nespolon said Australians have a right to analyse the major parties’ primary healthcare policies before election day on 18 May.
Nice words about general practice will not keep primary healthcare affordable and accessible. Australians need to know what the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party will do for the 23 million Australians who visit their GP every year,’ he said.
‘With the election just over a week away, we will continue to do everything possible to ensure the next Federal Government understands the vital role of GPs in our community and properly invests in primary healthcare, so that our patients can continue to see us whenever they need to.’
The RACGP has been active throughout the campaign in an attempt to make general practice the most important issue ahead of the election. It also has encouraged members to be involved in the political process and call for improved technology, higher patient rebates, improved mental health support, and recognition for the time and skill required to treat complex health issues.

The letter in full


Federal Election primary healthcare RACGP

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