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Pathology cuts a fresh barrier to care

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CHF is an independent not for profit organisation representing over 2 million health consumers.

Consumers Health Forum of Australia PO Box 3099 Manuka ACT 2603 T: 02 6273 5444

ABN 82 146 988 927

MEDIA RELEASE Tuesday, December 12, 2015

Pathology cuts a fresh barrier to care

Cuts to Medicare payments for pathology raise the prospect of a fresh cost barrier that could dissuade patients from undergoing important tests, the Consumers Health Forum says.

“Many patients requiring pathology tests would face out-of-pocket costs for the first time under these budget measures, if pathology practices fail to absorb the impact of reduced Medicare benefit payments,” the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.

“Pathology tests for the most part have not attracted any out of pocket charges in the past. The Government’s saving measure however poses a new hurdle in the way of patients whose GP has referred them for what could well be a significant test.

“CHF appreciates the very difficult challenges faced by the Government in the latest economic forecasts, but we need to keep the impacts on the health budget to a minimum.

“Australia needs to be strengthening its primary care services, as shown in a recent international survey and as canvassed widely by the Government’s Primary Health Care Advisory Group’s recent consultations on how we can better respond to people with complex and chronic conditions. Introducing a new price for pathology will not help improve primary care services and will discourage early diagnosis.

“Worryingly the Government will extract another $1 billion in cuts over four years from aged care and health workforce funding when so many services are already stretched,” Ms Wells said.”


Media contact: Mark Metherell 0429111986.