Senate Inquiry launched over the lack of GPs and services for Hunter Region

Meryl Swanson MP with signed petitions from her GP shortage campaign.


A SENATE inquiry is being launched into the Government’s lack of provision of GPs to the Hunter Region.

Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson is thrilled that there will finally be action, after fighting since 2017 with her informational campaign about the changes to regional bulk billing incentives that have resulted in less GP’s across the Hunter.

Meryl Swanson has raised this matter in Parliament on multiple occasions, and after thousands of signatures on her petition, the Hunter region will be subject to a Senate Inquiry.

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“The pandemic has exacerbated access problems in the health system, and GP’s have been critical to keeping people safe and supported during the lockdowns.

“They have been at the frontline of the pandemic, supporting people with existing health issues and ensuring patients understand the real danger of COVID-19,” Ms Swanson said.

With the population in Port Stephens being one of the oldest, aging communities in Australia, the inquiry will also look into access issues for regional communities, GP shortages and incentives to ensure that regional communities have continuity in the care being provided.

Ms Swanson also expresses her concerns for mental health support services with the lack of GPs in the area.

“Labor called on this inquiry because we need a solution to this problem; for eight years, the Government has neglected the rise in mental health issues across regional communities.

“If someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, they need prompt access to their GP,” Ms Swanson told News Of The Area.

Meryl Swanson and her team believe that Medicare and Health Services should never be on the table when it comes to making Federal cuts.

“The Government unashamedly has cut GP recruitment targets, cut Medicare rebates and undermine regional health services, all at the time of a pandemic.

“The pandemic has amplified local shortages, and we must get a real long-term solution to this problem,” Ms Swanson said.

To make a submission to the inquiry, visit:



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