GPs reject giant health bureaucracy in South West Sydney

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by South West Sydney Health Coalition

A report, prepared by Cranny and Associates proposes a giant bureaucracy in south west Sydney, ranging from Bowral to Bankstown.

Under proposed changes, family doctors influence over local issues would be silenced, putting at risk the promised benefits of government reforms to family medicine.

On the evening of November 4, over 150 GPs, health,and community leaders met at the Bankstown Sports Club to launch the South West Sydney Health Coalition, to call on the government to reject the proposal for a single giant health bureaucracy.

Mr Alan Ashton MP and Mr Tony Stewart MP attended the launch.

Community leaders included Dr. Ken Cho, from the Fairfield Liverpool Association of Medical Practitioners, Dr. Vinh Bin Lieu of the Vietnamese Australian Medical Association, Mr. Harry Allie, of the ATSI Advisory Committee Bankstown City Council, Mr. Si Banks of the Pharmacy Guild, Ms. Randa Kattan of the Arab Council of Australia, Dr.N.C.Patel of the Australian Indian Medical Graduates Association, Ms. Gunjan Tripathi from the Cancer Council, as well as the CEO of the Macarthur Division of General Practice, Mr. Rene Pennock.

At the launch, Dr Jim Gillespie first spoke about proposed changes to hospitals and family medicine. He described how communities now have an opportunity to shape their future health.

The Coalition was then launched by Dr. Sue Harnett, Chair of the Bankstown GP Division.

“We have real concerns that Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool are going to miss out on the benefits of family medicine reform,” said Dr. Harnett.

“The Cranny Report proposed much smaller locally connected organisations, “Medicare Locals,” in the wealthier parts of Sydney, and a giant disconnected Medicare Local for the economically deprived, ethnically diverse and fastest growing south western Sydney region,” she said.

“A single giant bureaucracy won’t fix the health problems in Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool - some of the most diverse and disadvantaged parts of Sydney.”

“Two smaller Medicare Locals are the only solution – a South West Sydney Medicare Local covering the natural grouping of Bankstown Fairfield and Liverpool, and a Macarthur – Southern Highlands Medicare Local, serving the fast-growing suburbs south of Liverpool”, said Dr. Harnett.

“Given that the government is now looking for local ideas, we have a once in a lifetime chance to change health for the better,” said Dr. Harnett. “This means family doctors working more closely with hospitals, other health professionals, local government, and actively engage the strengths of our many diverse community organisations.”

“We now call on families, individuals, health professionals and community organisations to join us, to contact their local MPs, and together, to shape the future of health in south west Sydney.”


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