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Patients hit by widespread bulk billing decline in Tasmania.



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Senator Lyn Allison

Australian Democrats

Health and Ageing Spokesperson 1 October 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/699

Patients hit by widespread bulk billing decline in Tasmania

The Australian Democrats today revealed the rate of bulk billing for GP services has declined in 4 of Tasmania’s 5 electorates in the last quarter.

In response to data provided by the Government to her questions, Democrats’ Health spokesperson, Senator Lyn Allison, said, “The figures confirm the downward trend from an already low base - a trend that Tasmanian GPs warned the Senate Medicare committee, will not be reversed by the Government’s Medicare package.

“Senator Patterson’s failure to provide a feasible health package has hit Tasmanians hard, with a worrying acceleration in the number of people forced to pay to visit a GP, particularly in outer metropolitan, regional and rural areas.

“The Democrats remain committed to providing affordable access to GPs for everyone, regardless of income and we continue to oppose the idea of a two-tier health system.

“We have already put forward ideas for improving bulk billing rates and solving doctor shortages, and look forward to contributing further to the debate when the Government finally feels able to address the issue.

“The Government must act. Minister Abbott will have to make changes quickly if he is going to halt the decline in bulk billing in Tasmania. If the current rate of decline continues we will lose affordable medical care for all, for good.”

For an interview with Senator Allison contact: Vara Szajkowski 0408 056 167

www.democrats.org.au

Senator Lyn Allison

Australian Democrats

Health and Ageing Spokesperson 1 October 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/699

www.democrats.org.au

Bulk billing figures by electorate (quarter March - June 2003)

ELECTORATE MARCH JUNE Bass 42.8 43.5

Braddon 50.9 48.7

Denison 49 47.7

Franklin 56.4 53.2

Lyons 78.2 78