Australia’s peak psychiatric body has warned Tony Abbott’s GP Tax will make life much harder for people experiencing mental illness.
A report commissioned by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) bluntly finds that “existing problems experienced by people with mental illnesses in accessing appropriate care are likely to be made worse by the 2014–15 Federal Budget.”
RANZCP Report Keeping Your Head Above Water: Affordability As A Barrier To Mental Health Care 13 November 2014
The report finds Budget measures like the GP Tax will significantly increase the financial stress experienced by many people with mental illness and could impose significant barriers to their access to high-quality, timely and preventive care.
“This will result in the development of more serious illnesses and lead to more potentially preventable crisis situations, creating a higher demand for hospital-based mental health services and other interventions, including those from the community sector and law enforcement sectors. Overall this will increase the burden of mental illness on the Australian community.”
The RANZCP reports backs up Labor’s deep concerns about the impact of the GP Tax on people with mental illness.
Many people with severe mental illness face lifetime unemployment and sometimes homelessness, so they are already very significantly disadvantaged.
Imposing any additional cost on accessing proper health care will simply shut them out of the system and drive up the demand for hospital-based mental health services.
The GP Tax is a disaster for health and a disaster for patients that will simply prevent people getting the care they need, leading to even greater health problems that will end up costing the health budget even more.
It’s long past time for Tony Abbott to listen to the experts and abandon his disastrous GP Tax.