The government’s revamp of rural healthcare infrastructure has been rated a complete failure with just 10 of an available 175 practice grants awarded.
Under the scheme, $52 million was dedicated to enhancing facilities designed to assist rural and regional GPs to teach medical students and registrars.
This was supposed to result in grants of up to $300,000 being awarded to 175 practices across the nation. Unfortunately, only 10 grants have been awarded with the initial application process deferred by more than four months.
The Health Department has rated the infrastructure revamp’s performance as zero out of four.
This is just the latest in a series of blunders from the Coalition which has declared all-out of war on GPs, particularly those struggling to meet demand in the bush.
The Medical Journal of Australia has reported that the four year Medicare Rebate Freeze will force doctors to slug patients with an $8 co-payment to offset their loss of income.
It will have a particularly harsh impact outside of our major cities where many practices are operating on tight margins.
People living outside our cities already suffer from poorer health outcomes and have inferior access to services. As a result people in rural areas are more likely to be admitted to hospital for problems that could have been dealt with by their GP.
This will prove disastrous in years to come because it costs much less for health problems to be dealt with by a GP compared to a hospital.
This latest rural infrastructure grant bungle on top of the rebate freeze won’t make things any easier.