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21 August 2019
By DEAN LAWSON
Concerns about regional healthcare across Australia have led to Member for Mallee Anne Webster developing a regional-healthcare reform policy.
Dr Webster has submitted the policy to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and is set to meet with him to discuss proposals.
She has also met and sent the reform document to Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton.
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Dr Webster, who was in Horsham on electoral duties with Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack last week, said she was committed to seeing change that opened the door for regional people to access more services in a timely manner.
“This is not just a Mallee issue – it’s a national issue and an issue we are working on addressing,” she said.
Dr Webster also expressed her concern about circumstances surrounding embattled private bulk-billing service Tristar Medical Group.
“Regional healthcare is critical for our region,” she said.
“What we know is that Tristar has been providing an essential service in the regions, in particular the Mallee electorate, and I’m keen to hear their point of view on what’s happening.”
Dr Webster is scheduled to meet with representatives from Tristar, which claims a federal shift in policy and bureaucracy involving overseas doctors has placed the group under severe financial pressure and is a threat to bulk-bill medical services in the regions.
“I’m very concerned about the shortage of GPs in regional settings and I’ve spent considerable time discussing issues with various stakeholders in developing the reform policy,” she said.
Dr Webster said other critical regional issues that needed addressing centred on mental health and age.
“I’ll be interested to see results from the Royal Commission into aged care and happy the Federal Government has committed money to mental-health reform that starts at primary-school level in a root-and-branch approach,” she said.
Dr Webster added she remained keenly aware of calls for a mental-health crisis centre in Horsham.
“I’m keen to continue engaging stakeholders to determine what is needed in Horsham and the Wimmera and to scope out what’s needed right across the electorate,” she said.
“We need to know what services are out there and how do, or can, they work together.
“How do services work together so they are effective and viable over the long term and how do we make finite resources effective and efficient?
“That’s all part of health-care reform.”
The entire August 21, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!