House debates

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Constituency Statements

Dobell Electorate: Health Reform

9:51 am

Photo of Craig ThomsonCraig Thomson (Dobell, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak about health reform on the Central Coast. In particular, I want to talk about some of the initiatives that this government has introduced, such as the GP superclinic. I know that the member for Solomon and the member for Petrie, who are in the chamber, also have GP superclinics in their electorates. What a difference the GP superclinic is already making to the electorate of Dobell. My electorate borders the electorate of Shortland, and the people who live in Shortland will also benefit from this GP superclinic.

The GP superclinic is costing the government $2.5 million, but an additional $16 million is being invested by the private operator. That shows the great value for money that the federal government is getting from this clinic. It will employ over 106 doctors and health professionals and fill a much needed void in the northern part of my electorate. It is within a kilometre of the busy Wyong Hospital, which is the fifth busiest emergency department in New South Wales. One of the great things about these GP superclinics is that they are designed to help take the overload off these busy emergency departments in our busy public hospital systems and, therefore, allow the public hospital system to function more efficiently than it is at the moment.

The second issue that I would like to raise in relation to health reform on the Central Coast is the investment in cancer care. Again, I know that the member for Solomon has had some very large announcements in relation to cancer care in Darwin as well. So this investment is not just happening in my electorate; it is also happening right across the country. For far too long on the Central Coast, people who have been suffering from cancer have had to travel down to Sydney. I have to pay tribute to Kay Smith and the campaign that she has run over many years to try and get proper cancer care on the Central Coast. She started this campaign when the previous government was in office and of course got nowhere in relation to that. For 12 years that government chose to do nothing about cancer care on the Central Coast. It has been the Rudd government that has stepped up to the plate on this issue to make sure that people get proper cancer care at both Gosford Hospital and Wyong Hospital as part of this great initiative. Without it, many people have told me that they simply could not get down to Sydney and that the cancer they were suffering from often did not get treated. Quite frankly, that situation has led to more deaths than would have occurred without this great initiative.

The final issue that I would like to raise is about our area health service. For far too long on the Central Coast, we have been part of the Northern Sydney Central Coast Health Service. With the reforms aimed at running our areas locally, we have the prospect of having a Central Coast area health service. It is something that I have petitioned for. It is long overdue and it is needed for all the constituents on the Central Coast. (Time expired).