Health and Aged Care

Access to good quality healthcare services is important to everyone. As the oldest electorate in South Australia, Mayo also has additional healthcare needs. Although healthcare is often a State Government issue, I have worked hard to deliver on better services for our community.

This means:

  • Better access to hospital and after-hours healthcare
  • Improved access and quality of aged care services, including transparency in staffing ratios
  • More mental health services located within the electorate
  • Greater funding for drug rehabilitation and addiction specialist support services
  • Better support for disabled Australians
  • Better Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) coverage for critical medications

Hospital and after hours healthcare

One of my key 2016 election campaign promises was to deliver on a 24 doctor service for Mount Barker. Mount Barker is South Australia’s fastest growing regional town, and it was desperately in need of after-hours access to healthcare. I am so very proud that the service has already saved many lives!

Results:

  • I worked with the community to lobby the State Government for the first ever 24-hour doctor service at Mount Barker Hospital
  • I lobbied for a Medicare-rebatable MRI licence for Mount Barker
  • I have successfully lobbied for a renal dialysis unit at Mount Barker hospital
  • I have lobbied for an upgraded emergency department for Mount Barker hospital and successfully secured funding to meet an anticipated shortfall to finish the project
  • I delivered better public transport access for South Coast residents to major hospitals in Adelaide
  • I and my colleagues obtained $68m to fund the Proton Therapy Unit in South Australia. This Unit will provide treatment for people with advanced cancer through the use of highly targeted, high-energy proton beams
  • I successfully advocated for an extra $5m in the 2021/22 Budget to finish the promised upgrade of the Emergency Department and Renal Dialysis Unit at the Victor Harbor Hospital

Speeches in Parliament:

  • Constituency Statement: Private Health Insurance (17 March 2021)
  • Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2021 (24 February 2021)
  • Health care priorities for Mayo (19 February 2019)
  • 24 Hour Doctor at Mount Barker Hospital (1 March 2017)

Media Releases:

I have also asked Questions in Writing on the following topics:

  • Efficacy of Rural Health Bonded Scholarships
  • Review funding categorisation for Gumeracha Hospital

Aged care

Ageing with dignity is an important concern for all older Australians. Our electorate is the oldest in South Australia, and services need to be available that allow older Australians to remain independent as long as possible in their own homes. However, if an older Australian moves into an aged care residential facility, their care needs to be tailored to their individual needs and be the highest possible standard.

Results:

  • Advocating for a parliamentary committee to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the $17.7 billion in extra funding set aside for aged care in the Federal Budget
  • Introduced a Private Member's Bill that would require residential aged care providers to publish their staffing ratios
  • Hosted Positive Ageing Forums in the Adelaide Hills and South Coast in July 2021, attended by more than 700 people
  • Hosted the Mayo Aged Care Forum in McCracken / Victor Harbor
  • Visit to the electorate by the Federal Minister for Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP
  • Successfully lobbied the Federal Government for more home care packages, with 14,000 high level home care packages announced in the 2018 Budget
  • Lobbied the Federal Government for more residential aged care places in the electorate
  • Lobbied both State and Federal Governments to commit to the construction of an aged care facility to replace Kalimna in Strathalbyn

Speeches and Questions in Parliament:

  • Appropriation Bill (No. 3) & (No. 4) 2020-2021 End of JobKeeper and Response to Aged Care Royal Commission (24 March 2021)
  • Question to Minister Health - COVID-19 vaccinations for older persons (25 March 2021)
  • Constituency Statement: Aged Care (25 February 2021)
  • Question to Minister Health - Home Care Packages (3 February 2021)
  • Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 1) Bill 2020 (27 October 2020)
  • Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Financial Transparency) Bill 2020 [No. 2] (19 October 2020)
  • Question to the Treasurer - Aged Care waiting lists (4 April 2019)
  • Health and Ageing Committee Report (24 October 2018)
  • Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2018
  • Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018 [Private Member's Bill] (20 August 2018)
  • Home care packages backlog (13 August 2018)
  • Home care packages (28 February 2018)
  • Aged care and Kalimna (8 February 2018)
  • My Aged Care (and Headspace) (18 October 2016)

Media Releases:

I have also asked Questions in Writing on the following topics:

  • National priority queue for home care packages

Mental health services

I am concerned at the lack of mental health services in our regional towns and centres, especially for younger Australians.

I have been advocating strongly for more mental health services across the electorate, such as those provided by organisations like Headspace.

I am also greatly troubled by the withdrawal of Federal funding for mental health services. Despite the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), there is a widening ‘mental health services gap’ which is not being fully met by State and Federal Governments.

Results:

  • Petitioned the Government for a Headspace service in Mayo
  • The launch of a Headspace outreach service in Mount Barker
  • Supported the launch of the Moving A Head service for Mount Barker and the Adelaide Hills
  • Successful lobbying for additional budget funding for mental health services in the 2017 and 2018 Budgets

Speeches and Questions in Parliament:

  • National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill 2020 (21 October 2020)
  • Question to the Minister for Health - Headspace services in Mayo (25 October 2018)
  • Rebekha speaking about Headspace and the effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health (31 August 2020)
  • Youth mental health services (10 September 2018)
  • Headspace (8 February 2018)
  • Mental health (16 October 2017)
  • Question to the Minister for Health – NDIS and the defunding of mental health services (25 May 2017)
  • Headspace (and My Aged Care) (18 October 2016)

Media Releases:

  • 'headspace' funding boost a win for Mayo youth (16 December 2018)
  • 'headspace' expansion on track for Mayo (25 October 2018)
  • Rebekha launches campaign to bring 'headspace' youth mental health service to the south coast (9 June 2018)
  • New mental health service launched in Mayo (19 October 2017)

I have also asked Questions in Writing on the following topics:

  • Wellbeing of Young Australians Report – Mental health

Drug rehabilitation

Alcohol and drug abuse, especially methamphetamine (ice), are growing public health problems in segments of our community, especially in our more remote regions and towns. Drug addiction places great strain upon families, social and public health services, and upon law and order. Prevention and early intervention are critical to helping people get their lives back on track, and to reduce the burden on our communities and upon our Government budgets.

Federal Governments have systematically underfunded drug rehabilitation services, and so I have sought additional funding for specialist rehabilitation facilities in South Australia and for support in addiction medicine to medical practitioners in regional Australia.

Results:

  • $20 million over 3 years for specialist methamphetamine rehabilitation facilities in SA, including a facility earmarked for the Fleurieu Peninsula
  • $20 million over 3 years for drug addiction training for GPs and allied health practitioners in regional Australia

Media Releases:

  • Member for Mayo welcomes $20 million in rehab funding for SA (23 November 2018)
  • NXT secures much-needed boost for drug rehabilitation programs (22 March 2018)

I have also asked Questions in Writing on the following topics:

  • Drug and alcohol exemptions - Brisbane Times article
  • Drug and alcohol exemptions - welfare reform

Better support for disabled Australians

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a big and complicated reform with widespread political support. However, much of the rollout of the NDIS has been plagued with problems. My focus has been upon the needs of individual constituents who approach me for assistance, but also upon improving the flexibility and responsiveness of the NDIS to the needs of disabled Australians in Mayo.

Another issue I am particularly passionate about is trying to close the gaps opening up in the availability of mental health services available in our community. State and Federal Governments have already started withdrawing dedicated funding to mental health services in the mistaken belief that the NDIS is the new and simple answer to all the mental health challenges facing our community.

Media Releases:

Speeches and Questions in Parliament:

I have also asked Questions in Writing on the following topics:

  • Disability Support Pension and prisoner suspension deadlines
  • NDIS and mental health services
  • NDIA/NDIS complaints management and service standards
  • Adelaide airport and disability

Other Health speeches and questions

Results:

  • Successfully lobbied for the re-establishment of a Medicare Services Centre in Victor Harbor
  • Successfully lobbied for the inclusion of Cystic Fibrosis drug 'Orkambi' on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule

Media Releases:

Speeches and Questions in Parliament:

I have also asked Questions in Writing on the following topics:

  • Healthcare card programs
  • Public funding for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • National Diabetes Scheme subsidy for Flash Glucose monitoring
  • Newborn screening of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  • PBS listing of cystic fibrosis drug ‘Orkambi’
  • Vitamin B12
  • Hopper ant vaccines
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