Mid-year forecast indicates difficult future for health sector

Mid-year forecast indicates difficult future for health sector

Friday 18 December 2015


AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon has pledged to fight any proposed cuts to health funding, following another blow for the health sector in the Federal Government’s MYEFO statement.


Dr Gannon said removing bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging services would only increase the health cost burden for families in WA. While protections remain for concession card holders, there is again little understanding for the difficulties faced by the working poor.


“This is really just another co-payment by stealth, and the Government is once again ignoring its core responsibility to provide access to affordable, quality health services for the Australian people.


“Cutting Medicare patient rebates for important pathology and imaging services is another example of putting the Budget bottom line ahead of good health policy.


“These services are critical to early diagnosis and management of health conditions to allow people to remain productive in their jobs, for the good of the economy.


“I understand the Government’s revenue problem and applaud measures to balance the budget.”


“But all up, MYEFO has delivered another significant hit to the health budget with services and programs cut, and more costs being shifted on to patients.


Dr Gannon said that once again, proposed changes to health services had been made without consultation with the AMA.


“These latest steps do not fill us with confidence about the Government’s ongoing range of reviews, including the MBS Review, the Primary Care Review, and the review of the private health insurance sector. Increasingly their recommendations look like being decided by Treasury, not by those interested in health.” Dr Gannon said.

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"It is my hope that we can tackle the challenges our profession faces, united as one. If we dislike our working hours, our pay, gender inequality or low training opportunities, we can change these together. As a nurse in my previous life, I know that when a profession stands as one, people listen."
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