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Public hospitals the frontline casualties of John Howard's war on Medicare.



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. SIMON CREAN MP

PUBLIC HOSPITALS

THE FRONTLINE CASUALTIES OF JOHN HOWARD’S WAR ON MEDICARE

Public hospitals have become the frontline casualties of John Howard’s war on Medicare and bulk billing.

Nowhere is this more evident than at Logan Hospital on Brisbane’s southside, where the decline in bulk billing is putting an increasing strain on the already overstretched Emergency Department.

In just the past two years, the number of patients presenting at Logan’s Emergency Department who could be treated by a GP has trebled.

Patients who can’t find a doctor who bulk bills, or an out of hours GP, are now turning up at hospital casualty wards in unprecedented numbers.

This is clearly due to the 17.7 percentage point fall in bulk billing in Brisbane over the past two years. GP numbers are declining and fewer practices are open after hours.

The only alternative for a parent in Logan City with two sick children who cannot find a doctor who bulk bills is to pay $77.32 up-front - and that’s before the costs of having any needed prescriptions filled.

That’s why they look to the Emergency Department of their local hospital for help.

John Howard is doing what he always promised to do - he is destroying Medicare and turning it into a second-class health system for all but those who can afford to pay for private health insurance.

Only Labor will save Medicare and only Labor will restore bulk billing.

BRISBANE, 11 MARCH 2003