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Labor ‘closely watching’ clinic rollout

It has been revealed that the latest super clinic to open doesn’t have any doctors yet.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon says she's keeping "a close watch" on the much-maligned GP super clinics program following fresh accusation of delays and mismanagement.

It's been revealed the latest clinic to open, in the Adelaide suburb of Modbury, doesn't actually have any doctors yet.

The federal opposition says that proves the program is being "bungled".

But Roxon says she's working hard to ensure it stays on track.

"As a minister I make sure that I'm keeping a close watch on these projects," the minister told ABC Radio.

"I think that the (health) department is probably sick of me trying to oversee and make sure that we meet our deadlines and provide services to the community."

Labor in 2008 set aside $275 million to build some 36 clinics. In this year's budget it promised $355 million for an additional 28.

But to date only a handful are fully operational.

According to opposition junior health spokesman Andrew Southcott, just four are offering a complete suite of services.

"The bungled implementation of this program represents another policy delivery failure for the government, with only four of the original 36 fully operational after an entire term of government," Southcott said in a statement.

He said the Modbury clinic "will not see a single general practitioner or practice nurse for at least 12 months".

Currently it has a dietician and social workers providing services.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard insists the staged opening of the Adelaide clinic isn't out of the ordinary.

"Doctors will be available from that clinic," she told reporters in Brisbane.

"Clinics (are) being opened with the first workers who are available and as areas in the clinic are finalised workforce will be phased in.

"It's the absolutely standard way of opening a new facility."

Twelve months ago, Roxon said all of the original 36 clinics would be fully operational by the end of next year.

"The deadline is late 2011," she said in December 2009.


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