Federal government must support more GPs to deliver vaccines

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, has today called on the Federal government to do its job and better support GP clinics to provide COVID-19 vaccines.

Appointments for 16 to 39-year old’s in Bendigo have stretched out to mid-October at both the state-run Mollison street clinic and the Commonwealth-run Bendigo Respiratory clinic.

“If we want lockdowns to end, it we want restrictions to be eased then we need to get people vaccinated. We need to make it easy for people to access a jab and we need that to happen quickly,” Ms Chesters said.

64% of vaccinations in NSW have been provided by GPs. That number is just over 50% in Victoria. Making it easy for people to get a vaccine is what will boost our vaccination rates.

“We have known since the beginning of the rollout that for many GPs, it isn’t financially viable to run COVID-19 vaccination clinics, which is just ridiculous,” Ms Chesters said.

Payments from the Federal government simply do not cover high wage costs and additional safety requirements that GP clinics must comply with in order to operate. The Federal government is responsible for Medicare. They need to increase the payment.

The government must also secure a greater supply of vaccines and give GP clinics the confidence that allocated doses will show up. We can’t continue to have people turned away when promised vaccines just aren’t delivered.

Aside from the GP-led respiratory clinic, there are only 8 GP clinics in the entire Bendigo electorate delivering Pfizer vaccines.

It is not the role of the Victorian government to provide payments to GP clinics. This is a Federal government responsibility. Scott Morrison needs ensure that GPs are supported to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations.

“If Scott Morrison did his job and provided greater supply to more points of access in our electorate, then we would more vaccines, in more arms, more quickly,” Ms Chesters said.