North Coast

The Australian Labor Party candidate for the seat of Page Patrick Deegan. Image: Contributed

Labor makes a promise to Lismore

An Albanese Labor Government will establish a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic in Lismore to improve access to medical assistance and take pressure off the Emergency Department at Lismore Base Hospital.

Labor Candidate for Page Patrick Deegan said the Lismore Medicare Urgent Care Clinics would bulk bill, ensuring that patients do not have out-of-pocket costs.

“Labor’s Medicare Urgent Care Clinics will be based in existing GP clinics and Community Health Centres and provide bulk billed services delivered by doctors and nurses,” Patrick Deegan said.

“This includes treating sprains and broken bones, stitches and glue for cuts, wound care, insect bites, minor ear and eye problems, and minor burns.

“In other words, the clinics will help people with important and time-critical treatments that don’t need a hospital emergency department.

“They will be open during extended business hours – at least 8am to 10pm – seven days a week. No appointment will be needed. All patients will need is their Medicare card.”

Patrick Deegan said Urgent Care Clinics have been successful in other countries such as New Zealand, where they provide 2.5 million consultations a year.

“The New Zealand experience shows Urgent Care Clinics can work for families and take the pressure off emergency departments.

“This model of care will work by providing a block grant to existing GP-led clinics in so they can can open longer, and increase the number of doctors, nurses and allied health staff.

“One-off grants will also be provided to improve equipment and facilities, like x-ray machines.

“Importantly, an Albanese Labor Government will work with State and Territory Governments and local medical practitioners to ensure there is close co-operation between the Medicare Urgent Care Centres, local emergency departments, and ambulance services.”

Patrick Deegan also said a Labor Federal Government would prioritise the construction of new social housing residences in Northern NSW.

“Our region already had a huge shortage of affordable housing before the floods, but now the housing situation is a crisis.

“Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Jason Clare has already announced a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years.

“Today I can announce that the Northern NSW will be the first region to benefit from this program.

“If Labor is elected, Jason Clare will work with local community housing providers to expedite new housing in our region to get people into new homes as quickly as possible.”