Media Release - The Government needs to support Medicare Locals

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16 April 2014

Sharon Claydon, today welcomed Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, to Newcastle to meet with Hunter Medicare Local.

Hunter Medicare Local is recognised as a leader among the 61 Medicare Locals in Australia, with their established programs like GP Access and Connecting Care Program delivering positive health care outcomes to Newcastle and Hunter residents.

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“It’s great to have Catherine King in town today to showcase some of the fantastic primary health care programs being delivered by our Medicare Local,” Ms Claydon said.

“The programs that the Hunter Medicare Local deliver are some of the best in Australia and are making a real difference to the health of Novacastrians and residents of the Hunter,” she added.

Like all Medicare Locals, Hunter Medicare Local is facing an uncertain future, with an ongoing Abbott Liberal Government review threatening their operations. The review that commenced in December 2013 was due to deliver its findings by March this year, however details are yet to be made public.

“It’s an anxious time for Primary health care service providers in Australia,” Ms Claydon said.

“The Abbott Liberal Government went to the election with a commitment to not make any cuts to health, yet they already cut more than $200 million from public hospitals in New South Wales, floated a new $6 GP tax and are sitting on the results of their review into Medicare Locals,” she added.

“The Medicare Local’s core purpose is simple - keeping people well and out of hospital – and the Hunter’s program is a leader in New South Wales, with less hospital admissions in the region for acute conditions like gastroenteritis and ear, nose and throat infections.”

“Hunter Medicare Local deserves better than they are getting from this government and I urge the Abbott Liberal Government to release the results from his review and give Medicare Locals around the country the certainty they deserve.”

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle