The Devonport GP Superclinic - bankrolled with $5 million of taxpayers' money - has closed its books to new patients and stopped bulkbilling less than three years after Labor cut the ribbon on the project.
"This was a key plank in Labor's 2007 and 2010 campaigns and now it is a pile of broken promises," Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck said. "Member for Braddon Sid Sidebottom owes us an explanation and an apology.
Promises by Health Minister Nicola Roxon and Mr Sidebottom were that the project would:
- Open until 10.30pm every night, easing the burden on the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of the Mersey Community Hospital. Which it never has.
- Bulk bill for pensioners, health care card holders, students and children under 16 years of age. It no longer does this;
- and Deliver real benefits in providing health services to the local region. But it's now closed the books to new patients.
In February, 2011 it was revealed that patients presenting to the Mersey A&E actually increased in the six months after the superclinic opened.
"When this so-called superclinic opened, Sid Sidebottom said: 'The Devonport community can trust a Gillard Labor Government to invest in the health and hospital services it needs.'," Senator Colbeck said.
"Well you can't trust the Gillard Labor Government. Mr Sidebottom should be picking up the phone to the Devonport GP Superclinic and asking just what our $5 million bought us.
"If a GP Superclinic is no longer taking new patients, it is still a superclinic?
"There were provisions in this policy to cover the scenario that a centre ceased operating as a GP Superclinic. Mr Sidebottom should initiate a thorough review of the arrangement to see if they need to be brought into play."