Thursday, 09 February 2023
Thursday 9 February 2023 – Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston—Minister for Social Services) (09:45): The Albanese government’s key priority is strengthening our healthcare system. We know that under the previous government our healthcare system was not delivering, and of course, residents in my electorate of Kingston, the southern suburbs of Adelaide, have raised concerns with me time and time again. That’s why I’m so pleased that we continue to focus on rebuilding our primary healthcare system so that Australians can get care when they need it.
Of course, we have kept our election promise to deliver cheaper medicines. From 1 January, the maximum cost of medicines under the PBS will reduce. We’re also strengthening Medicare with our reforms through the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce, establishing 50 Medicare urgent care clinics and, of course, the GP grants program.
In my local electorate, the Commonwealth government has partnered with the Labor state government to invest $400 million in the expansion of Flinders Medical Centre, adding 136 extra beds, and, of course, 24 new beds at the Repat. I’m particularly thrilled to hear about the South Australian government’s complementary commitment to the upgrade of the Noarlunga Hospital. This upgrade is critically needed and will complement the Commonwealth’s commitment to an urgent care clinic in Adelaide’s south.
Recently, I spoke with my community about the plans for an urgent care clinic in the southern suburbs of Adelaide to provide care for urgent but not life-threatening situations, and the news was strongly welcomed by residents. I’ve had a flood of positive responses into my office highlighting the need. I will just mention a few.
Rebecca from Hackham said: Our baby daughter has had to present to ED because we couldn’t get into a GP or a locum.
Similarly, Ben from Huntfield Heights said: I have three children aged 2-12, an urgent care clinic would give us an alternative to hospital … This would mean peace of mind, and money well spent.
Of course, it’s not just families that need urgent care. A number of residents have let me know that they have chronic health conditions, but they feel guilty about attending emergency departments.
Mark from Christies Beach said: My wife has a serious illness and at times requires urgent assistance … we are reluctant to go to the ED because we know they’re very busy.
Wendy, also from Christies Beach, said: Hopefully I won’t have to feel guilty any more crying in emergency when I can’t breathe.
Clearly, there is a compelling need for more options in accessing care and strong support for a new urgent care clinic in Adelaide’s south.
It is the Albanese Labor government that has made primary care a priority. It’s the Albanese Labor government that is committed to tackling solutions to ensure our healthcare system is fit for purpose for the next decade.