Budget reply ‘a missed opportunity’

Paul Hayes

5/04/2019 10:06:51 AM

The RACGP believes Labor’s response ‘fails to recognise the vital role of general practice in every Australian community’.

Bill Shorten
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has pledged a $2.3 billion Medicare cancer plan in the event Labor is elected to government. (Image: Mick Tsikas)

‘General practice is the most cost effective part of our healthcare system and more than two million Australians visit a GP every week, so it was disappointing not to hear the Australian Labor Party would commit proper investment in general practice patient services if elected in the upcoming Federal Election,’ RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said.
‘We have seen some signs that our political leaders are starting to recognise the vital role of general practice in our healthcare system, such as Labor’s Federal Election promise to end the Medicare freeze. But, unfortunately, this recognition does not go far enough.’
‘This health policy fails the very people Labor seeks to represent.’
The Budget reply from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten included commitments to further investment in hospitals and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), as well as significant support for cancer patients in managing out-of-pocket costs.
‘Every year 300,000 Australians who need radiology just don’t get it – because they can’t afford it,’ Mr Shorten said when announcing the plan.
Mr Shorten pledged a $2.3 billion Medicare cancer plan that, if Labor is elected, will include up to six million free cancer scans, three million free specialist appointments, and more affordable medicines.
‘Every drug recommended by the independent experts will be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,’ Mr Shorten said.
While Dr Nespolon has welcomed such investments, the RACGP has repeated its calls for ‘catch-up’ funding to reset Medicare patient rebates.
‘Until this happens, patients will still be paying more than ever for their healthcare,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘Australian GPs and their patients need the government elected at this year’s Federal Election to commit its support to general practice, rather than further investing in expensive hospitals.
‘Focusing on hospitals as the answers for the challenges in health is simply unsustainable.’

budget reply Federal Budget Labor Medicare

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