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Addressing women's health challenges on International Women's Day



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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

CATHERINE KING MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

ADDRESSING WOMEN’S HEALTH CHALLENGES ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

This International Women’s Day, we thank our women health professionals and celebrate the progress Australia has made in women’s health, but encourage everyone to recommit to tackling existing women’s health issues.

Women have an enormous impact across the health sector, making up:  89 per cent of nurses and midwives  39 per cent of medical practitioners  39 per cent of dentists  50 per cent optometrists

Significantly, more female health practitioners are entering the workforce. In 2014, over 53 per cent of medical practitioners in the youngest age group (20 to 34 years) were women. In addition, women made up more than half of all specialists-in-training in 2014, far greater than 28.7 per cent who were practising specialists.

But while female representation in the health sector is improving, women still face serious challenges in their health care.

Women need to visit their GP an average of seven times a year - twice as often as men. Women are also more likely to visit medical specialists. But at the same time, women are more likely to put off visiting a GP because of cost. As a result, women are particularly impacted by Malcolm Turnbull’s freeze on Medicare rebates.

Women will also be hit harder by the Government’s cuts to Medicare bulk billing incentives for vital tests and scans, like pap smears and ultrasounds. Around 60 per cent of Medicare pathology and diagnostic imaging services are provided to women. Forcing women to pay more to see doctors and have vital tests makes absolutely no sense when many Australian women already struggle to afford health care.

There is also a persistent, unresolved health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women. Shockingly, Indigenous Australian women are twice as likely to die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth as non-Indigenous women.

This International Women’s Day is a good opportunity to reflect on these health issues, but it is equally a good opportunity for Malcolm Turnbull to reverse every single one of his health cuts which will impact every single Australian woman.

WEDNESDAY, 8 MARCH 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: DAN DORAN 0427 464 350 (PLIBERSEK) JOANNE CLEARY 0428 816 751 (KING)