An Albanese Labor Government would reverse over $500,000 of annual Liberal cuts to the Hunter’s GP Access After Hours service, securing the future of these crucial after hours healthcare clinics.

After two years of Liberal cuts to the service, operating hours have been reduced at the GP Access After Hours clinics at Belmont Hospital, Maitland Hospital, John Hunter Hospital and the Toronto Polyclinic, while the clinic at Calvary Mater Newcastle closed its doors on Christmas Eve.

The Prime Minister has refused to rule out supporting a recommendation for a further funding cut, which if approved would end this vital service.

This is a devastating blow to the Hunter community, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. Almost every Hunter family has used this vital service.

This service sees 50,000 patients a year and provides 70,000 telephone consultations, alleviates pressure on overstretched hospitals and has been estimated to save the broader health system almost $22 million per year.

For example, when the Belmont After Hours Clinic was forced to close temporarily, waiting times at the Belmont Hospital Emergency Department blew out from 2.5 hours to six hours.

Like so many Liberal decisions about funding health services, cutting funding to the Hunter’s GP Access After Hours service just doesn’t make sense.

Reduced hours of operation and closure of services have led to an incredible local campaign to get services restored, led by the local community, the Hunter GP Association and the four Labor MPs and candidates who have fought passionately to retain their treasured after hours care service.

Unlike Mr Morrison, Labor has heard the message loud and clear and an Albanese Labor Government will restore cut funding as a priority.

Labor built Medicare, we protect Medicare and we’ll strengthen Medicare if the Australian people elect an Albanese Labor Government.