Senate inquiry launched into lack of GPs and services for Hunter Region – News Of The Area

Meryl Swanson MP with signed petitions from her GP shortage campaign.

A SENATE inquiry is launched into the lack of government supply of GPs to the Hunter region.

MP for Paterson Meryl Swanson is delighted there is finally some action, after battling since 2017 with her campaign to inform about changes to regional wholesale billing incentives that have led to fewer general practitioners in the Hunter.

Meryl Swanson has raised this issue in Parliament on several occasions, and after thousands of signatures on her petition, the Hunter region will be investigated by the Senate.

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“The pandemic has exacerbated problems with access to the healthcare system, and GPs have played a vital role in keeping people safe and supported during lockdowns.

“They have been on the front lines of the pandemic, supporting people with existing health conditions and ensuring patients understand the true danger of COVID-19,” Ms Swanson said.

With the population of Port Stephens being one of the oldest and aging communities in Australia, the survey will also look at access issues for regional communities, shortages of GPs and incentives to ensure continuity of care provided. to regional communities.

Ms Swanson also voices concerns about mental health support services due to the lack of GPs in the area.

“Labour asked for this inquiry because we need a solution to this problem; for eight years the government has neglected the increase in mental health problems in regional communities.

“If someone is going through a mental health crisis, they need quick access to their GP,” Ms Swanson told News Of The Area.

Meryl Swanson and her team believe Medicare and health services should never be on the table when it comes to making federal cuts.

“The government has shamelessly slashed recruitment targets for GPs, cut Medicare reimbursements and undermined regional health services, all during a pandemic.

“The pandemic has amplified local shortages, and we need to find a real long-term solution to this problem,” Ms Swanson said.

To make a survey submission, visit: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary%20Business/Committees/OnlineSubmission.

By Tara Campbell

Norman D. Briggs