Families, kids and pensioners at risk under Liberals’ plan for new hospital fees

May 5th, 2014 by: Kwinana Electorale Office

Monday 05 May 2014

Fast Facts:

Colin Barnett flags new fees for emergency departments.
AMA and WA Labor oppose fees.
Fees could cause dangerous delays in seeking treatment.

Colin Barnett’s threat to start charging fees at hospital emergency departments is another blow to struggling Western Australian families that could put lives at risk.

WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said Colin Barnett and the Liberals seem determined to attack Medicare and undermine Australia’s highly regarded system of universal health care.

The new fees would impact most on low and middle-income families and pensioners.

There is a danger that charging fees at emergency departments will result in parents of sick children or the elderly deciding not to seek medical care and that could have serious or even fatal consequences.

Mr McGowan was worried that parents with children suffering high fever may not seek medical attention and this could lead to a failure in the early treatment of conditions like deadly meningococcal.

Comments from WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan:

“When you’re a mum or dad and your child has a high fever you simply don’t know if it’s the flu or something far more serious.

“If it’s the middle of the night you don’t have the option of waiting until the next day to try to book an appointment for a GP.

“Parents in this situation have no option – you get in the car and you get to PMH or another hospital as quickly as you can.

“The Premier doesn’t seem to understand the practicalities and pressures facing families today.”

Comments from Shadow Health Minister Roger Cook:

“Doctors working on the front line know that co-payments are bad for patients and would add unnecessary bureaucracy to our public hospitals.

“It’s likely all the red tape necessary for the introduction of fees would cost more than the fees actually collect.

“Patients also know that in the real world it can be very difficult to get an appointment with a GP.

“These changes could result in patients not seeking timely treatment and their condition worsening so that the cost of treatment ends up being far higher.”



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