House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Constituency Statements

Health Reform

9:42 am

Photo of Russell BroadbentRussell Broadbent (McMillan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

‘Balderdash!’ as the Prime Minister said yesterday. What we heard from the member for Isaacs a moment ago about the health reforms is exactly the point that I would like to raise again in this chamber, and I have raised it twice before. It is chicanery and more chicanery, which means to be clever but devious at the same time—maybe a bit too clever and joined in by groups. It is about what has happened with GP clinics, and I am writing to every GP clinic in my electorate.

The government have taken away the practice incentive payments—seven of them—with regard to what happens within a general practice. What the government offered in those health reforms in the budget seemed extremely positive to me when they said, ‘We will give you nurses for each doctor. Five doctors, five nurses. We will give you a certain amount of money for each of them: $25,000 as an incentive to employ.’ It sounds fantastic, because nurses—and I am related to one—give us all great service and we appreciate what they do within a general practice. In one general practice, the practice would receive $125,000—$25,000 a nurse—but the practice incentive payments adding up to $185,000 would be removed from that particular practice, leaving a deficit of $34,000. In fact, I received another email yesterday that says that that practice now may be worse off again.

When members of this House go back to their electorates and talk to people, they need to consider what is happening in their general practices and what I raise today. I am raising it for the third time because it is important. I am not raising it to bash the government around the head; I am raising it because it is important, because it is going to affect the on-ground work done by GPs and their nurses. It means a disincentive to employ. It is one thing to give you a nurse; it is another thing to take away seven practice incentive payments for the work that those nurses do. It is the changing of bandages on wounds—the little things—that have been taken away by the department.

I do not think members of parliament on the government side even know this has happened. Last time we were in the House I did not table information on this because it was confidential, but I handed it to one member of the government and said, ‘This is what’s happening on the ground.’ It is plea from me today on behalf of GP clinics right across Australia that, if this is the case, as I have announced, it needs addressing, it needs addressing now and it needs addressing by this government at this time or I will raise it again. (Time expired)