Tony Abbott’s $1.1 billion in cuts to public hospitals in Tasmania will jeopardise health outcomes and lead to blow outs in emergency department waiting times.
Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King today joined Labor’s Candidate for Lyons Brian Mitchell to highlight the impact the Abbott Government’s cuts will have on Tasmanian hospitals and the families, pensioners and sick patients who rely on them.
As part of these cuts the Tasmania Health Organisation South alone faces a cut of almost $600 million.
“As a result of Tony Abbott’s broken promise not to cut health we will see an increase in elective surgery waiting times, an increase in emergency waiting times, and a reduction in the number of available hospital beds,” Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said.
“On top of these cuts to public hospitals, Tony Abbott is slugging families and patients with a $7 GP tax every time they visit the doctor. In Lyons alone this will cost residents more than $3.8 million per year in out of pocket costs and in Franklin almost $4 million per year.”
Just this week, evidence given by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) in Canberra to a Senate Inquiry found the proposed $7 GP tax will affect Tasmanians more than people in other states.
“We know that Tasmania has a higher burden of chronic disease, has higher smoking rates, and we need to do more to encourage preventative health care and chronic disease management. And that’s why I think the co-payment will affect Tasmanians more than it affects people in other jurisdictions,” AMA President Brian Owler said in response to questioning from Senator Bilyk.
“The evidence by Associate Professor Owler highlights that this Government is recklessly acting in a way that will produce worse health outcomes for the Tasmanian people,” Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said.
“The health of Tasmanians with chronic disease will be severely affected if they cannot afford to pay for multiple trips to the doctor”.
“The $7 GP tax is not just about destroying Medicare, it will discourage people from seeking medical advice with all kinds of potential flow-on consequences for general health.”
“These cuts are all part of Tony Abbott’s plan to dismantle Medicare as we know it and create a two-tiered American style health system.”
“When it comes to Australia’s healthcare families and patients are being let down by the most uncompassionate government since Federation and the most ineffective health minister Australia has ever had.”
Labor will stand up to Tony Abbott’s attack on public hospitals and Medicare. As the party that established Medicare we will defend it, and the next Labor government will rebuild and strengthen it.