Labor promises almost $ 1 billion for Medicare and GPs if it wins federal election

Federal Labor is entering the election campaign home stretch armed with a promise of almost $ 1 billion in new Medicare and primary-health funding if it wins next weekend’s federal poll, as both leaders prepare for a frenetic final week of campaigning.

The pledge consists of $ 750 million over three years for a new “Strengthening Medicare” fund which aims to improve patient access to GPs including after hours, decrease pressure on hospitals and better manage complex and chronic conditions.

It also includes $ 220 million for grants of up to $ 50,000 for GPs to train staff, upgrade IT telehealth systems, buy equipment and improve ventilation and infection control.

If Anthony Albanese wins on May 21, Labor will also create a Medicare task force that will be chaired by the health minister and include peak body groups such as the Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of GPs and the National Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organization.

“Every day, everywhere I go, people talk to me about how it’s getting more and more difficult to see a doctor,” Mr Albanese said.

The plan was immediately welcomed by Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Omar Khorshid who said it “put general practice on a pathway to a more sustainable future”.

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