16 November 2015
Research released today announcing that GP Access After Hours (GPAAH) saves the overall health system more than $10 million a year, confirms that funding the service is not only good social and health policy but sound economic policy as well.
Newcastle and the Hunter almost lost GPAAH earlier this year when the Liberal Government failed to fund the service in the 2015 Federal Budget. The service was only saved after the community came out in force, with thousands signing petitions and writing letters, voicing their support for this highly valued service.
Regretfully, with only one year of guaranteed funding in the extension granted last May, the future of GPAAH remains uncertain.
The economic case for GPAAH is now very clear and adds weight to community calls for secure funding of this vital service. You would struggle to meet a family in Newcastle that hasn’t used the high-quality service and it has broad support across the community – with GPs and Hunter New England Health joining the community in their support of the after-hours service.
Abandoning the service would have a profound negative impact for our community and would place significant pressure on local hospital emergency departments.
I call on the Turnbull Liberal Government to end the uncertainty for our region’s after-hours health care service and guarantee long-term ongoing funding for GPAAH.