Page 2018 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

need it regardless of money. I have been seeing my doctor for almost 20 years now and he has always bulk-billed me. My doctor bulk-bills me and all the other patients regardless of income, their marital or child status and regardless of age.

In my discussions with him yesterday in Kambah while I was getting my antibiotics, he told me he had seen an interview on the ABC which stated that currently in the south of Canberra there are no bulk-billing doctors. Although he knows there are some, he agrees that all doctors should offer that service to their patients. I am pleased to advise that the 2017-18 ACT budget will provide $1.05 million over three years to GP practice groups to extend their commitment to bulk-billed allied health services. The minister has reassured me that further information on the grants will be available to GP practices soon. This initiative is part of the ACT government’s 10-year health plan which is future proofing our health system.

That 10-year health plan does not stop just at supporting GPs to bulk-bill; it will also fund the creation of new nurse-led walk-in centres in the Weston Creek region and Gungahlin. These new centres meet the government’s commitment to provide a better way for people in those areas to get fast, free health care close to home and when they need it. It is important to note that walk-in centre health care will continue to be provided on a walk-in, no-appointment basis and free of charge. These commitments are not based on a whim. Comprehensive planning, consultation, site investigation and analysis have been undertaken to ensure that the new centres will meet, and continue to meet, the needs of the ACT community.

Staying healthy and active is something that I enjoy doing, but it is something that helps to keep my asthma at bay. In 2015 I was so sick with asthma that I could not walk from my front door to my letterbox without having an attack. That is a distance of less than five metres. I have had asthma all my life, but in 2015 it ruled my life. I had to give up all activity that I had loved and undertaken. I struggled with the normal acts of life. I was unable to get a full night’s sleep as I would wake up choking, a common complaint in chronic asthmatics. I was lucky: my wonderful bulk-billing doctor, whom I have already mentioned, referred me to an incredible respiratory specialist at the Canberra Hospital, whom I continue to see. I know there are many people in our community today who suffer from severe and chronic asthma and have done so for much longer than I. To those people I say: you are an incredible inspiration. I know the stress of not being able to get air into your lungs, and I know the stress of never knowing when you might stop breathing.

When I first went along to see my doctor at the Canberra Hospital I told him that I had signed up to do my first triathlon in November of that year. Let me just explain the time frame. I saw the doctor in July 2015, when I could not even walk to the letterbox without gasping for air, and was competing in my very first triathlon in November 2015. Like me, this particular doctor likes a challenge but this one was a little bigger than even he thought was possible to achieve. However, thanks to his expertise, advice and passion in caring for his patients and giving them the best that research has to offer I achieved my goal. Not only did I compete but I got second in my age group.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video