State Government backs Medicentre plan formulated at Billson meeting

Saturday 28 November 2015:

I welcome the State Government’s adoption of the Medicentre sustainability plan formulated at a meeting I convened with Peninsula Health and South Eastern Primary Care Network (SEPCN).

Attendees will remember this 45 minute discussion mapped out the Medicentre sustainability solution the State Minister has now echoed in her media statement.

I brought the key parties together for the discussion after learning the after-hours privately run GP collaboration operated at the Frankston Hospital would cease operations.

The Medicentre Board’s decision to close followed many years tackling constant revenue shortfalls, difficulties recruiting doctors for the evening shifts and the establishment of numerous other after-hours non-emergency medical service alternatives.

The plan I secured involves interim support to maintain the after-hours GP service over summer; a restructuring of its operations to ensure its viability; and inviting interested doctors to operate the service into the future as a mainstream GP clinic.

This will enable around 5000 patients with non-emergency health concerns to continue to be diverted to the on-site GP service and a further 5000 patients who attend without referral.

The Commonwealth would continue the funding support for the Medicentre it has provided for decades under the mainstream Medicare system that includes consultation payments and incentives for GP practices to provide after-hours patient services.

This offers scope to increase the number of non-emergency patients that could be diverted to the co-located GP clinic by having it operate during regular hours as well as after-hours.

That would relieve even more pressure from Frankston Hospital’s Emergency Department, enhance the financial viability of the Medicentre service and put the clinic on the same secure footing as other local GP clinics that offer after-hours patient access.

It makes perfect sense for the State Labor Government to come on board with the course of action I have been advocating and I welcome the Minister’s announcement.

The Medicentre model delivers enormous benefits to the Frankston Hospital yet up until recent days, the Victorian Government hasn’t come up with a solution or shown any interest in providing a cent of funding.

The State Labor Health Minister and local Labor MPs have been more interested in publicity hunting, social media campaigns and electioneering than problem solving, formulating solutions and enhancing patient care.

It just shows that focussing on the interests of the community and problem solving as I do is far more beneficial than Labor’s priority of playing politics and pursuing the self-interest as local Labor MPs and candidates.