Tony Abbott’s broken promise on health will cost Queensland Hospitals $11.8 billion over the next decade, including $609 million ripped from the Cairns and Hinterland Health Service.
Tony Abbott’s cuts will mean Leichhardt residents will wait longer for a hospital bed and face longer delays in Emergency Departments.
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.
Federal Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King and Labor Candidate for Leichhardt Sharryn Howes today met local health workers and visited Cairns Hospital to discuss first-hand the Abbott Government’s assault on Medicare.
In government, Labor invested $12 million in Cairns Hospital through our Health and Hospitals Fund.
Tony Abbott came to power promising “no cuts to health” but just months later scraped the fund and ripped $57 billion out of public hospitals.
This will cost the Cairns and Hinterland Health Service $609 million with serious consequences for patients in Cairns and across North Queensland.
Under the former Newman Government over 4,000 positions were axed from the Queensland health system, including more than 1,000 nurses and midwives.
Across Queensland Tony Abbott’s health cuts are the equivalent of funding 2,895 nurses, 818 doctors and 824 health professionals.
In Cairns these cuts could have funded 42 doctors, 149 nurses and 42 health practitioners.
At the same time, Tony Abbott’s freeze on Medicare rebates, which commenced in July is ripping $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 $7 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Even though the rebate reduction has been retracted, the freeze will have greater impact with time — nearly double the amount of the rebate reduction by 2017–18.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 co-payments.
“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 Leichhardt cannot afford the Abbott Government and why Leichhardt needs Sharryn Howes 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 Sharryn Howes will stand up for families in Leichhardt by opposing Tony Abbott’s continuing attack on Medicare.