Federal election 2022: Labor promises urgent care clinics to ease emergency department pressure

Hannah CrossSound Telegraph
Brand MP Madeleine King says a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic would be installed near Rockingham General Hospital.
Camera IconBrand MP Madeleine King says a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic would be installed near Rockingham General Hospital. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

The Labor Party has laid out a plan to expand emergency care services across Australia should it secure an election win on May 21.

Dubbed Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, Labor says it will roll out clinics in every State and Territory at GP surgeries and community health centres to take the pressure off hospital emergency departments.

The urgent care clinics will be bulk-billed and act as the go-between for regular GPs and the emergency room, with doctors and nurses on hand to treat broken bones and sprains, cuts, wounds, insect bites, minor ear and eye problems and minor burns.

Brand MP Madeleine King said should a Labor government be elected, an urgent care clinic “tailored to meet the needs of the local community” would be installed near Rockingham General Hospital.

“I am proud to have secured this Labor commitment to ease the pressure on Rockingham General Hospital, ensuring local families can see a doctor, rather than wait in an emergency room,” Ms King said.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the urgent care clinics were a “key part of Labor’s plan to strengthen Medicare by making it easier to see a doctor”.

“Labor’s Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will mean more families will get top quality care from a nurse or a doctor without having to wait in a hospital emergency department,” he said.

But just 50 of Labor’s Medicare Urgent Care Clinics are slated for a trial should they be elected, with an investment of $135 million over four years.

The announcement comes after the Greens said last week they would push for free dental and mental health care under a $77.6 billion dollar investment into free dental care across the decade for all Australians, which they say they will pay for by taxing the ultra-rich.

Liberal MP in neighbouring division of Canning Andrew Hastie says health funding is at “record levels” under the Coalition Government.

“We are spending $31b on Medicare this year, up from $19b when we came to government,” he said.

Mr Hastie said the Federal Government’s investment in hospital funding to WA had grown by 150 per cent in the past decade, from $1.4b in 2012–13 to an estimated $2.9b in 2022–23.

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