After hours GP service closure to create emergency department debacle

Dire warning: Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander outside the now defunct Campbelltown Hospital after hours GP service. Picture: Supplied
Dire warning: Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander outside the now defunct Campbelltown Hospital after hours GP service. Picture: Supplied

Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander has warned Macarthur residents to brace themselves for an even more packed Campbelltown Hospital emergency department.

The warning comes a month after the hospital’s after hours GP service was scrapped. But Hume MP Angus Taylor has accused Dr Freelander of “deliberately misleading the public”.

Plans for the closure were revealed in early December and were met with anger by several local MPs including Dr Freelander – a paediatrician in the Macarthur area for more than 30 years.

“This will definitely put more pressure on the emergency department. The hospital won’t say that’s the case but everyone knows it will,” he said.

“Some GPs may provide an after hours service (elsewhere) but not all will be bulked billed, so that means patients will have to also pay more.

“I will continue to make enquiries in this matter, to ultimately find those responsible for this decision and fight for a reversal of this move.”

Mr Taylor hit back and said Dr Freelander had “caused unnecessary concern in the community” through “irresponsible scare-mongering”.

“It has been known for months now that services at Campbelltown and Liverpool Hospitals were being reopened in local GP practices and in an increased number of locations across south-western Sydney,” he said.

“There has been no need for the member for Macarthur, as recently as this week in parliament, to claim that services were being cut.”

Dr Freelander said Mr Taylor did not have intricate knowledge or experience of the Campbelltown public health system and was not in a position to comment on the changes.

“Angus would not know how difficult (the hospital-based service cut) will make it make it for people in Campbelltown and Liverpool. He lives in Goulburn,” he said.

“The service at the hospital is being abolished. Everyone in the (medical) field thinks this is a bad idea. We believe the service being based at the hospital is the best model of care.”

The South Western Sydney Primary Health Network will tomorrow announce details about a new after hours clinic that will operate at 23 Chamberlain Street, Campbelltown.

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