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What’s in it for Canberra? A GP Super Clinic!

By emd - 11 August 2010 24

ALP announcements today (courtesy of ABC News) include some good news for Canberrans who are sick of having to wait a week (or more) to see a GP who doesn’t even bulk bill. They’re going to build a GP Super Clinic, providing after-hours bulk billed GP services to reduce the pressure on hospital emergency departments. There’s also a bucket of money for roads infrastructure that will somehow help reduce housing prices (don’t know how that works?).

Personally, I’d rather see the roads money spent on public transport infrastructure (light rail, anyone?), but VERY pleased to see that someone is ready to do something about the serious shortage of GP services in Canberra. We may be the nation’s capital, but the real people who really live here do need real doctors, just like in every other city.

What’s Your opinion?


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24 Responses to
What’s in it for Canberra? A GP Super Clinic!
1
Fiona 12:35 pm
11 Aug 10
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Again, so long as they can find GPs to staff it.

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2
bergamot 1:43 pm
11 Aug 10
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Fiona said :

Again, so long as they can find GPs to staff it.

Exactly. I have no doubt that they want to give us the 1500 extra GPs and would be happy to provide some funding, but where are these GP’s going to come from?

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3
dtc 2:33 pm
11 Aug 10
#

People may not realise that ACT Health/govt offers considerable assistance, incentives, money and everything else to try and attract GPs to Canberra. But they dont want to come, despite probably having almost guaranteed incomes given the shortage. So exactly +2

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4
pptvb 3:53 pm
11 Aug 10
#

I bet there’s hundreds of fully qualified GPs on Christmas Island who would love to come to Canberra!

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5
bobbatty 5:30 pm
11 Aug 10
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pptvb said :

I bet there’s hundreds of fully qualified GPs on Christmas Island who would love to come to Canberra!

Don’t joke…make it attractive for o’seas born medicos and anything is possible.

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6
bd84 5:56 pm
11 Aug 10
#

There are already at least dozen doctor “super clinics” (clinics with 5-10 doctors) in this town. They’re the ones everybody complains about because their local doctor has moved from their suburb to a town centre and they now get to wait in a waiting room full of many other sick people for hours to get to see a doctor which will probably not be their own.

Another fking waste of money to build a large building that will have an insufficient number of doctors to run it and where everybody will hate going. At least the government are consistent when pissing our money into the wind, it gives me more reason not to vote for them.

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7
shaneb 7:04 pm
11 Aug 10
#

I have an ongoing medical problem which requires me to visit a doctor every 3 months to get a blood test referral, and then again for the results. Depending on the results I may have to change my prescription strength. I usually have to help the doctor interpret the results because they aren’t very familiar with the condition.

My pharmacist knows exactly what he is doing, which is not surprising given they receive far more training in pharmacology than a GP. Give them the ability to request blood tests and prescribe medicines (or at least continue / modify an existing prescription) and you might not need more doctors.

I suspect giving them (and nurses) the ability to issue medical certificates would also help.

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8
MrPC 7:14 pm
11 Aug 10
#

They need to base the new clinics around nurse practicioners doing triage and minor duties, referring patients to GPs only where appropriate, if the goal is to make medical services available to more people at shorter notice and at a lower cost.

From my understanding, that is not planned by either side, and as such, the policy will fail. There aren’t enough doctors just hanging around waiting for a job at a super clinic.

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9
Dr Strange 11:00 pm
11 Aug 10
#

Good idea taking foreign born and trained Doctors and medical personnel out of others countries systems that generally need it even more desperately than we do. Can be nice for the individuals but crap for the countries concerned.

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10
cleo 12:30 am
12 Aug 10
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Or go interstate if doctors here in Canberra cannot diagnose you as that’s what I did, the doctors here made me feel that it was in my mind, especially when they tell you to take up dancing! What a joke, and yes was diagnosed after four years, I feel that doctors are over worked here in Canberra, some cases are put into too hard basket for them to deal with and cannot be bothered investigating.

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11
MrNurseRatchet 8:14 am
12 Aug 10
#

IMHO, Canberra does NOT need a GP Super Clinic (where would the GPs come from?) Would really like to see them put money into the EXISTING infrastructure. Plenty of great resources here in Canberra for the benefit of the community’s health. I realise that the community health centres are understaffed by GPs…so why not allow Nurse Practitioners to practice to their actual full scope of practice (which can be up to 80-90% of what a GP can do) alongside and in collaboration with these GPs? There are plenty of NPs out there with a vast amount of primary healthcare experience that would fit into that type of collaborative model (NPs and GPs working side by side) which would benefit patients, provide a safe and effective alternative to the GP shortage, which ultimately would prove to be cost-effective (particularly with the new Nov 1st rules which will allow NPs in private practice to bulk bill). The existing health centres are EXCELLENT, albiet understaffed and underpowered. All that is needed is some re-evaluation of the current rules and restrictions that govern NP practice so that they can actually work to their full scope and benefit the community.

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12
jennybel75 8:29 am
12 Aug 10
#

Shaneb said:

My pharmacist knows exactly what he is doing, which is not surprising given they receive far more training in pharmacology than a GP. Give them the ability to request blood tests and prescribe medicines (or at least continue / modify an existing prescription) and you might not need more doctors.

I suspect giving them (and nurses) the ability to issue medical certificates would also help.

As far as I’m aware Phramacists do have the ability to issue medical certificates for certain conditions. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) has the guidelines for doing do on its website:

http://www.guild.org.au/uploadedfiles/Qld_Branch/What's_New/Med%20certificate%20guidelines%20final%20Jan08.pdf

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13
sirocco 9:11 am
12 Aug 10
#

Under current commonwealth legislation overseas-trained GPs can only get medicare provider numbers if they work for several years in “rural & remote areas of need”*

ie: not Canberra :(

…unless they work in after-hours only locum clinics (so maybe)

* “rural & remote” is pretty self-explanatory but “areas of need” mean anywhere where the number of current practicing GPs is lower than the (abysmally low) national average. Either way this means: not Canberra

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14
Katietonia 9:37 am
12 Aug 10
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It’s really hard to find a good GP in Canberra. You always feel like they’re looking at the clock trying to rush you out.. Or you have to wait 4 weeks for an appointment.

I think the problem is mainly that it takes around 12 years to become a GP. I can’t imagine a lot of people jumping at the chance to do that anymore. One GP I had in Belconnen at the medical centre there spent most of my consult complaining that he’d studied for 12 years to work in that place.

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15
bean 11:40 am
12 Aug 10
#

Where will the staff come from for the new clinic?
Is it just me, or are all these new ventures simply shuffling existing resources from one place to another without adding anyone new?
I think most people want local GPs, because that provides the best quality of service.
Clinics are good too, but only if they’re additional, not if they come at the expense of small GP practises.

Why can’t the government run a review of why GPs are reluctant to work in Canberra, or why there is a shortage, and make the results public so we can then push for real solutions? Like massive increases to funding of training young doctors linked to obligatory working where they’re needed for their first 5 years as doctors? Plus short-term increases of overseas doctors.

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