p>Herbert residents will wait longer for a hospital bed and face longer delays in Emergency Departments as a result of Tony Abbott’s hospital funding cuts.
Herbert residents will wait longer for a hospital bed and face longer delays in Emergency Departments as a result of Tony Abbott’s hospital funding cuts.
Federal Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King and Labor Candidate for Herbert Cathy O’Toole are today meeting local health workers and visiting Townsville Hospital to discuss firsthand the Abbott Government’s assault on Medicare.
Tony Abbott came to power promising “no cuts to health” but just months later ripped $57 billion out of public hospitals.
Tony Abbott’s broken promise on health will cost Queensland Hospitals $11.8 billion over the next decade, including $605 million ripped from the Townsville Health Service.
In government, Labor’s Health and Hospitals Fund provided $12 million for Townsville Hospital’s Planed Procedure Centre and $70 million for the Townsville and Mt Isa Integrated Regional Cancer Service.
That grant funded three radiotherapy bunkers and two new linear accelerators for Townsville Hospital and has ensured thousands of patients can be treated locally and not have to be sent to Brisbane away from family, improving cancer survival rates.
Tony Abbott scrapped this fund, and his cuts to Medicare and hospitals will mean real consequences for patients in Townsville and everywhere else in North Queensland.
Across Queensland Tony Abbott’s health cuts are the equivalent of funding 2,895 nurses, 818 doctors and 824 health professionals.
In Townsville these cuts could have funded 42 doctors, 148 nurses and 42 health practitioners.
This is on top of the 4,000 positions that were axed from the Queensland health system by the Newman Governmment, including more than 1,000 nurses and midwives.
At the same time, public hospitals are reporting near record numbers of patients, as people increasingly seek to dodge Tony Abbott’s new GP Tax by swamping Emergency Departments.
Tony Abbott’s four year freeze on Medicare rebates is just the latest version of the GP Tax which has seen the Abbott Government attempt to slug patients with a $7 tax, a $5 tax a $20 tax and now an $8.43 tax through the back door.
The freeze, which commenced in July will rip $1.3 billion out of general practice over the next four years, a move an article in the highly respected Medical Journal of Australia finds could lead to even higher charges than the original GP Tax.
Even though the rebate reduction has been retracted, the freeze will have greater impact with time — nearly double the amount of the rebate reduction by 2017–18. For economic reasons, the freeze may still force GPs who currently bulk bill to charge copayments.
“The Cost of Freezing General Practice” Medical Journal of Australia
The study found that by 2017-18, the shortfall will leave GPs $8.43 worse off, forcing many doctors to charge patients who are currently bulk billed, and increase out of pocket payments for other patients.
The rebate freeze confirms Tony Abbott’s promise that the GP Tax is dead is as believable as his promises before the election of no new taxes and no cuts to health.
Tony Abbott’s cuts to health and hospitals in Queensland and his GP Tax show why Herbert cannot afford the Abbott Government and why Herbert needs Cathy O’Toole as part of a federal Labor Government.
Only Labor believes in Medicare and only Labor believes in keeping our public hospitals strong.
Only Labor’s Cathy O’Toole will stand up for families in Herbert by opposing Tony Abbott’s continuing attack on Medicare.