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Emergency department fee is the wrong prescription: Greens

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 9 Apr 2014

Australian Greens Health Spokesperson, Dr Richard Di Natale, said today that the proposal to charge people who present to Emergency Rooms will have serious health consequences for many Australians.

“Slugging patients to see their GP or going to the hospital is a bad prescription for a problem we don't have,” said Senator Di Natale.

“Treating health problems early rather than waiting for them to become serious is good for patients and good for taxpayers. That’s why it’s important that Australians don’t have to think about whether they can afford to see their doctor.

“Putting a price barrier between someone and their GP and then punishing them if they go to hospital would be bad for patients and cost us more in the long run.

“We don’t want someone with chest pains who is not sure if they are having indigestion or a heart attack waiting until it becomes unbearable before they go to the Emergency Room because they are worried about the costs. We need to reduce out of pocket health care costs rather than adding to them.

“Who gets to decide which ailments are legitimate reasons to go to the Emergency Department? As a doctor I don’t want a bureaucrat with a mandate to find savings in charge of making that call.

“The Abbott Government is trying to convince us that universal access to health care is a luxury that we can no longer afford. Quite simply it's a lie from a government intent on making brutal cuts that conform to its narrow ideological world view.

“Universal health care is a right. Medicare is the most affordable, efficient and fairest way to fund healthcare and the government has no mandate to tear it down.”

Media Contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600

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