GPs: Axe Medicare Locals to free up health funding

JUST weeks out from what is predicted to be a tight Budget, GPs have pointed the way for the Gillard Government to reach its all-important surplus: freeze the rollout of super clinics and scrap Medicare Locals altogether.

Winding back incentive payments for pharmacists to dispense generic drugs also rated a high mention in MO’s latest national poll of 150 GPs.

Asked where health spending should be cut in the May Budget, 77% of GPs nominated the super clinics program – now $630.4 million deep in promised Commonwealth funding.

Nearly 40% recommended Medicare Locals for the chopping block, freeing up at least some of the $416 million that has so far been committed to their rollout, which begins on 1 July.

“If you took the super clinics money from Canberra, the leverage that you would get would train five times as many students and doctors,” AMA vice-president Dr Steve Hambleton said.

“Nobody can