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AMA disdain for queue jumping should apply to hospitals too.



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Senator Lyn Allison

Australian Democrats

Health and Ageing Spokesperson 31 July 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/550

AMA disdain for queue jumping should apply to hospitals too There is a fundamental flaw in logic whereby paying to jump a queue is acceptable in hospitals but not in GP surgeries, according to the Australian Democrats’ Health spokesperson, Senator Lyn Allison. Senator Allison was responding to comments today by AMA President, Dr Bill Glasson and Health Minister Senator Kay Patterson (23/7) reprimanding GPs who make bulk-billing patients wait, while those prepared to pay can be seen earlier. Senator Allison said, “This is either a policy mish-mash or crocodile tears from a government and a profession that has long supported treatment according to income.” Private hospitals give higher incomes to doctors and allow patients able to pay the ability to jump queues. Senator Allison said, “A proper mix of public and private health would see services that the government considers as either frivolous or as providing marginal health benefit subsidised only by private insurance, not MBS, and treated in private hospitals. These are the truly 'elective' interventions. “Those services that the Government and community agree as valuable because they are cost-effective in maintaining or improving health should be carried out in public hospitals and publicly funded. “Let's get serious about reforming our system, and rather than merely expressing disappointment, let's see the Government and the medical profession act in a way that shows they do not agree with the prevailing user-pays philosophy,” Senator Allison concluded. Contact: John Derry 0408 056 167 www.democrats.org.au