Labor is increasingly concerned by the delay of promised respiratory clinics, with only two federally funded respiratory clinics currently open to combat COVID-19 as confirmed cases rise.

The number of Australians infected with Coronavirus is doubling every three days. Respiratory clinics are needed for sick Australians now.

On 11 March the Government announced they were investing in 100 dedicated respiratory clinics to be a one-stop-shop for people who are concerned they may have the virus, to be tested and isolated from other patients.

Two days ago, the Health Minister claimed:

“In particular with regards to those respiratory clinics I can inform the Australian people that 175 clinics are now running around the country with an additional 31 planned for opening over the course of the next seven days.”

But advice from the Minister’s Department show that only two of those 175 clinics are run by the Australian Government. The good work done by state governments and the private sector is not the same as the clinics previously promised by the Government.

In coming weeks and months, every possible hospital resource will need to be devoted to emergency departments and intensive care units making it all the more urgent for the Commonwealth to establish its own clinics.

The clear facts published on the Department of Health website confirms there are only two fever clinics up and running:

‘We are setting these clinics up over the next few weeks. Clinics in Ryde, NSW, and Morayfield, Qld, started operating on 21 March 2020.

If you’re not currently near Ryde, NSW, or Morayfield, Qld, there is no GP Respiratory Clinic in your area yet.’

The Minister for Health must take every action available to him to speed up the operation of the 100 respiratory clinics as soon as possible.

This would include any resources available through the National Coordination Mechanism or the Australian Defence Force.

Labor has consistently called for faster action on these fever clinics, and will support any mechanisms the Government implements to expedite the process.

Australians right now deserve clear and honest messages from their leaders, now more than ever.