In particular the Union is very concerned that health care standards for Australians will be significantly damaged by removing bulk-billing incentives for pathology, a clinical service used by General Practitioners for diagnosis and treatment. And by changing the bulk-billing arrangements for diagnostic imaging services and Magnetic Resonance Imaging services, the Turnbull Government is making these vital health services too expensive.
The Union is also very concerned that the proposed slashing of the health workforce programs which will lead to further shortages in critical areas like medical sciences with private pathology companies likely to slash workforce terms and conditions to absorb revenue reductions to maintain current profit levels.
The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) can only be described as a disaster for Australia’s universal healthcare system. The changes announced by the Turnbull Government illustrates that they have little regard for the future healthcare of Australians. And they demonstrate a lack of understanding given that a great number of visits to a General Practitioner involve getting a pathology test done.
Removing bulk-billing incentives for pathology tests will now make it more expensive for people to get the tests they need done. Healthcare standards will decline leading inevitably to adverse health outcomes for many patients. And it’s very likely that removing bulk-billing incentives from pathology tests, and vital imagining services, will lead to more and more poor and vulnerable people not getting tests done, which could lead to significant health problems.
The Turnbull Government is creating a situation where poor and vulnerable people will no longer be able to afford to access the healthcare they need when they need it. This decision is not about governing for everyone or improving the lives of all Australians. This is a calculated attack on Australia’s universal healthcare system.
Slashing the health workforce programmes will only lead to a situation that exasperates a current growing shortage in critical areas like medical sciences. Private pathology companies have a history of attacking workforce terms and conditions to protect profits. Dorevitch Pathology, for example, has refused to negotiate wage increases for the scientific workforce for the past 8.5 years. This decision will see pathology companies harden their attitudes to negotiating fair and reasonable conditions.
The Turnbull Government is sacrificing the good health of Australians because they are incapable of properly managing the Australian budget.