Plan to get GPs into the bush

REMOVING Medicare Locals and providing better incentives for GPs to move to the bush were two policies the federal Opposition's health spokesman talked about when he stopped off in Wagga yesterday.

Andrew Laming, the Opposition parliamentary secretary for regional and indigenous health, said a main priority would be removing "unnecessary" layers of bureaucracy if the Coalition was elected to power in September.

But the Liberal MP, who has worked as a GP in Gundagai before entering Parliament, refused to provide a commitment to address the critical palliative care shortfalls in Wagga, despite listing it as the top priority in Australian healthcare alongside mental health.

He would also not be drawn in on talking about future infrastructure funding in the region.

His visit yesterday was part of a tour with member for Riverina Michael McCormack.

"We support all of the investment so far, but further investment depends on the books that you inherit while in government," he said.

"We haven't made any commitments yet on infrastructure, the focus has more been on how we get state and the federal systems working better together without having another layer of bureaucracy called Medicare Locals.

"We're looking at ways the future federal government can look closely at NSW to keep people out of hospital and treated and identified early and reward the clinicians for smart healthcare."

"Our focus is listening to GPs and freeing them up to make sure over hospitals are not overrun."

When asked why the Coalition would better represent the healthcare needs of the Riverina, Mr Laming said they were committed to encouraging more GPs to move to the country.

"We are going to definitely look at improving incentive systems for GPs to consider a career in the bush," he said.

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