I spoke in Parliament today to celebrate the arrival of the Bruce GP Super Clinic, and to ask what it is about efficient, affordable and accessible healthcare that the Government thinks is ‘nasty’?:
This week saw the opening of the GP Super Clinic in Bruce. Residents in Canberra's north now have better access to general practitioners, nurses, pathologists, dieticians, counsellors and a range of other allied health practitioners. The facility is located on the grounds of the University of Canberra, which means it can integrate teaching, training and research. There are already eight GPs treating patients in the new clinic in Bruce, and there is capacity to expand to 18 doctors and related supporting services.
The super clinic will help to meet the expected demand coming from the growth in Canberra's northern suburbs. It will provide improved access for northsiders to vital health services. I celebrated the opening of the clinic; I helped turn the first sod last year with former health minister, Tanya Plibersek, who is a passionate supporter of GP super clinics, unlike the current health minister.
The GP Super Clinic was established with financial assistance from federal Labor under the super clinics program. It is a great facility and a most welcome one for my northside constituents. What do this government see when they look at something like the Bruce Superclinic?
When the now Minister for Health saw the shape of things to come back when Labor introduced the program in August 2010, as shadow minister he began to talk with fear and loathing of the 'great big new monstrosities that would rise up in our communities'.
Now that the superclinics are here, the community sees convenience and a vision for affordable health care, and the Minister for Health sees 'crazy schemes and new bureaucracies'. Mr Dutton is still spooked by the 'monstrosity' of convenient health services in local communities. Why? In his words:
“When you scratch below the surface of the GP super clinics scheme … you do not have to scratch too much before you see that is a nasty program … You do not have to poke too much into the GP Super Clinics Program to see a really nasty undertone to it.”
But when you do scratch the surface, as Mr Dutton asks us to do, you do not see the 'great big new bureaucracies' that haunt the Minister for Health's febrile imagination. You see health professionals on hand to serve the community.
What kind of thinking can find something nasty in that?
I would like to congratulate the team of the clinic and thank them for the services they will be providing to the community: practice manager, Jasdeep Phull, a highly trained team of registered nurses and the frontline GPs, Dr Paresh Dawda, Dr David Voon, Dr Chris Harrison, Dr Doug Rogers, Dr Karen Pahlow, Dr Michael Brown, Dr Mrin Ponnamblam, Dr Sivaprasad Sunil, Dr Esther Hyams-Elijah. The GP super clinic will make modern health services more accessible to the people of Fraser.
It is a great Labor achievement and one which is benefiting my local community.