The 5 Urgent Care Clinics promised to be established in South Australia by 1 July this year remain undelivered, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese finally confirmed their locations today.
On top of this broken delivery timeframe, today’s announcement is a shameful hollow promise.
At least four of the five SA clinics appear to be merely a rebadging of existing clinics, with the promised ‘extended hours’ already confirmed by the Department of Health to be a blatant lie.
Labor promised that every Urgent Care Clinic would be open during the extended times of 8am-10pm as a key part of their operation, but it was revealed in Budget Estimates that this will not be possible.
This is far from providing the promised improved access to critical healthcare and reduced pressure on hospital emergency departments.
Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care Anne Ruston said that Labor’s Urgent Care Clinics are a smokescreen that are not addressing the serious pressure on hospital systems across the country.
‘Ramping is at record highs in South Australia, and yet the only action we are seeing from either the State or Federal Labor Government is a handful of re-badged health clinics that are still months away,’ Senator Ruston said.
‘These clinics have not been delivered on time, they are unlikely to be open for the promised extended hours, and health experts have raised concern that they will not take significant pressure off emergency departments.’
‘Labor is misleading South Australians at a time when they need genuine and urgent support with accessing critical healthcare when they need it.’
This failed mismanagement of Labor’s headline health promise also comes at a time when bulk billing rates have fallen every single month under the Albanese Labor Government.
The latest data showing a total Medicare bulkbilling rate of 77%, and 80.2% for non-referred GP appointments, in the 12 months to June this year.
It is becoming more and more evident that Labor has sold the public a lie.
Under the Albanese Labor Government, less than half of their promised Urgent Care Clinics are operational, bulk billing rates are at the lowest levels since 2013, and it is harder and more expensive to see a doctor.