Government consults Hinkler GPs on Medicare reform

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Minister for Health Sussan Ley and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt will meet with local General Practitioners to discuss the best ways to protect Medicare for the long-term.

Ms Ley is in Bundaberg today as part of her consultations with health professionals and patients across the country, following strong advocacy by Mr Pitt.

“I’ve been out there talking to doctors and patients across the Hinkler Electorate about the Government’s proposed changes to Medicare,” Mr Pitt said.

“Given the high proportion of elderly, disabled and low socio-economic residents living in Hinkler, the future of Medicare is an issue of great interest and concern locally.

“I have presented these concerns to my colleagues in Canberra. They’ve shown they’re listening, by hitting the pause button and consulting further.

“It’s great to have the Health Minister here on the ground, meeting with our local GPs at the coalface. I look forward to continuing to work with her on this very important issue.”

Ms Ley said the Government was committed to protecting Medicare for the long-term and, therefore, she wanted to hear views and ideas from a wide variety of stakeholders.

“As a regional MP myself, I understand that decisions on paper don’t always have the same outcomes in real life, particularly outside of our major cities,” Ms Ley said.

“I want to ensure I listen to the views of those in regional Australia as well and hear their ideas and suggestions for improving Medicare.

“I’m also committed as part of these consultations that we maintain high-quality treatment and care and ensure bulk-billing remains in place for vulnerable and concessional patients.”

She said spending on Medicare, in the last decade, had more than doubled from $8 billion in 2004 to $20 billion today, yet we raise only $10 billion from the Medicare levy. Spending is projected to climb to $34 billion in the next decade to 2024.

Mr Pitt and Ms Ley will also take the opportunity to inspect coronary care and cardiac investigation units at Friendly Society Hospital in Bundaberg.

Media contact: Larine Statham (Mr Pitt) 0427 653 814