The Albanese Government is delivering on our commitment to make it easier for people in the Hunter region to see a GP or nurse after hours.
After two years of Liberal cuts, operating hours were reduced at the GP Access After Hours clinics at Belmont Hospital, Maitland Hospital, John Hunter Hospital and the Toronto Polyclinic, while the clinic at Calvary Mater Newcastle closed its doors on Christmas Eve last year.
The 2022-23 Budget has secured a $17.47 million investment over the next four years to restore and provide certainty to the GP Access After Hours program in the Hunter region – delivering on our election commitment.
The funding will enable the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network to continue commissioning Hunter Primary Care to provide services across the four GP Access clinics as well as reopen a fifth clinic using space at the Calvary Mater Hospital.
This funding will mean patients are able to access face to face and telehealth primary care services outside business hours. These services will be bulk billed and delivered by GPs and Registered Nurses.
The Government’s commitment is restoring service access back to 2020-21 levels once the Calvary Mater Clinic is fully operational.
GP Access After Hours clinics are open when most General Practices are closed, including weeknights (from 6pm), weekends (Saturday 1pm, Sunday 9am) and public holidays (24 hours).
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“The Albanese Government is restoring these much-needed services that will provide reassurance to mums, dads, families and individuals needing non urgent care outside business hours. All you need is your Medicare card.
“They will increase patient access to care after hours– especially in the early evening – and reduce demand on local hospitals.”
Quotes attributable to Minister Conroy:
“The Albanese Government is delivering on its commitments to Lake Macquarie by restoring this unique and vital service. It will take pressure off our overcrowded emergency departments during their busiest times.
“There are very few people in our region who have not used the services of the GP Access After Hours.”
Quotes attributable to Sharon Claydon MP:
“Labor promised we would save GP Access After Hours after the previous Liberal Government cut the funding, and we’ve wasted no time in honouring this commitment.
“I know how important the reopening of the Calvary Mater GP Access clinic, alongside increased hours of operation for the clinic at the John Hunter Hospital, is to Newcastle families.
“The Albanese Labor Government is making sure that all Novocastrians have access to bulk-billing GPs after hours because what you earn, or where you live, should never determine your access to affordable healthcare."
Quotes attributable to Dan Repacholi MP:
“I have seen and heard the horror stories of people waiting days and even weeks to be able to get into see their GP.
“The restoration of the opening hours of the GP Access After Hours Service in Toronto, will mean local residents can see a doctor while they are sick, and will reduce our overcrowded Emergency Departments.
“This change will mean residents in Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Morisset, Cooranbong, Toronto, and right across the Hunter electorate, will have access to quality care and will mean a reduction in Hospital waiting times.”
Quotes attributable to Meryl Swanson MP:
“We are a Government that is keeping our election promises and delivering on improved Healthcare for our region.
“Securing this funding means easier access to a GP when you need it, and continued support for the fantastic service that Doctors, and staff perform around the clock.”