State Governments warn Mr Abbott about GP fees

Media Release (ANMF Federal Office)

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has expressed its concerns about recent analysis from State Governments showing the impact that will be felt in their  public hospital emergency departments (EDs) if co-payments for basic medical services are introduced.

Potentially, an additional 500,000 for NSW and 290,000 for South Australia ED presentations alone, according to the analysis.

ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said the reports from the Government Departments simply provided further evidence on the damage that will be caused by the Abbott Government’s proposed co-payments for GP visits and pathology and diagnostic tests, which health groups and experts have been warning of, ever since the Government’s Budget was first announced.

“Now, even State Governments and Health Departments are warning Mr Abbott about the dangerous impact of introducing co-payments,” Ms Thomas said today.

“The Abbott Government is claiming that co-payments are needed to send a price signal to consumers and control the budget but on top of the devastation they will cause to the health of the community, the co-payments simply make no economic sense.

“As well as this recent modelling from the States, in its analysis of out-of pocket health costs, the Grattan Institute calculated how much a shift of patients from GPs to emergency departments would cost the Government.

“The Medicare rebate for the most common type of GP consultation, which lasts up to 20 minutes, is $36.30. The average cost of a non-admitted level 5 triage visit to a hospital – a likely substitute for a GP visit – is $290.

“Multiplied by 500,000 for NSW and 290,000 for SA, and we’re not sure yet how much for the other states, that’s a lot of money. And while it might look good for the Federal Government’s Budget by shifting the costs onto the States and Territories, it’s no saving and it’s no way to run the country.

“As a Federation of State and Territory branches with over 240,000 members, the ANMF understands that the way we achieve things is through cooperation and collaboration not cost shifting and blame shifting. But maybe that’s because, as nurses and midwives, we’re used to working together to get the best outcome for our patients, their families and the community.

“It’s time the Abbott Government did the same.” 

For more information on the ANMF’s Lies, Cut and Broken Promises campaign, go to www.anmftakeaction.org.au

The ANMF, with over 233,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.