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Veterans get catch up health care only.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Defence & Veterans

Dated: 10 May 2005

Press Release Number: 05/230 Portfolio: Defence & Veterans

Veterans get catch up health care only

The Government is playing "catch up" with Veterans Health Care, says Senator Andrew Bartlett, Australian Democrats spokesperson for Veterans Affairs. Senator Bartlett was responding to announcements in the Budget that additional funding will be directed to anaesthetists and dentists to encourage them to provide services to eligible veterans. "We welcome the increase in funding but it is for many a case of too little too late, as many dental practices and health providers ceased offering services to Gold Card holders months ago," Senator Bartlett said. "The Democrats believe that veterans and their families should not have to miss out on services before the Government turns its mind to their health needs. In fact, I had to look very hard to find mention of veterans at all in these Budget papers. "The Government has missed the chance in the Budget to ensure that veterans have assured ongoing access to the full range of Health Care services. "It is a sad fact that some of our troops will come home from Iraq in a less healthy state than when they left. A Government prepared to commit troops to conflict must be more in tune with the likely health outcomes of its service men and women. "This means pre-empting and addressing shortfalls in health care before they occur and giving greater thought to planning the future health needs of veterans. "Instead, the Government has decided that some veterans are in fact being over serviced and will be spending nearly $5 million to find savings in their health expenditure. "It is untenable that so soon after the Prime Minister committed additional troops to the Iraq conflict, veterans scarcely rate a mention in the Budget," concluded Senator Bartlett.