The Grattan Institute report highlighting inequities in hospitalisation rates for preventable health conditions highlights the urgent need for a serious focus on health inequality.
Perils of place: identifying hotspots of health inequality shows areas such as Frankston and Broadmeadows in Victoria and Mount Isa and Palm Island in Queensland have hospitalisation rates for potentially preventable health conditions at least fifty percent above the state average.
Tackling health inequality must be central to the health reform agenda. During the election campaign Labor announced a significant investment in local approaches to health prevention and the development of new targeted models of primary care to tackle chronic disease and promote health.
General Practices and the services they provide are critical to tackling health inequality. The Grattan Institute report highlights the stupidity of the Turnbull Government’s Medicare Freeze which will make it harder, and more expensive to see a GP.
Already, Malcolm Turnbull’s Medicare Freeze is forcing GPs to abandon bulk billing and slug patients every time they visit the doctor, driving even more patients into already overcrowded emergency departments.
One in 20 Australians already say they delay visiting their GP, or do not visit at all, because of cost. This can lead to conditions deteriorating and people being admitted to hospital – meaning worse outcomes for the patient and greater cost to the health system.
If Mr Turnbull is serious about learning the lesson of the last election, he will reinvest in preventive health, abandon his cuts to Medicare and ensure all Australians can access health care when and where they need it.