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Opposition health spokesman Mark Butler has faced questions over the Labor party’s $135 million policy to trial urgent-care clinics.

Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Chris Moy has said the plan is like the Rudd government’s GP super clinics, which he said were “white elephants and were some of the worst examples of pork barrelling”.

Labor health spokesman Mark Butler.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

However, Butler said Labor would work with state governments and GPs to determine the clinic locations.

“This will be a competitive process overseen by the [health] department,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program.

“We will identify particular regions where we know there is huge pressure on hospital departments and GP practices who want to take their practice to the next level [and] will be able to apply for the additional funding.”

Labor’s health spokesman claimed many people can’t access GPs and said his party’s clinics would be fully bulk-billed. He added that the clinics would ease pressure on hospitals by treating minor emergencies, such as a “kid who has fallen off their skateboard”.

“Currently, people can’t get into a GP – particularly after hours,” Butler said.

“We are very confident that this practice will make it easier for people to see doctors, particularly where those families are spending hours and hours lining up in hospital emergency departments.”



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