It is World Poverty Week and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) as a member of the Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDOHA) is helping to reduce the level of Australia’s health inequalities.
According to the SDOHA, failing to act on the social determinants of health means hundreds of thousands of people are needlessly suffering long-term health problems.
“The ANMF is pleased to be working with other health, social services and public policy organisations as part of SDOHA in an effort to raise the awareness of the direct links between poverty and poor health outcomes,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said today.
“Sadly, around one million Australians are facing severe hardship, with people from lower socio-economic and disadvantaged communities more likely to be suffering from physical or mental health issues because they cannot afford access to doctors, medicines and health services.
“Poverty doesn’t discriminate, with young children, right through to the elderly impacted by a lack of access to quality health care – and that’s unacceptable.
“From our perspective, the ANMF is extremely concerned that the Abbott Government’s savage cuts to health budgets, its attacks on Medicare and proposed plans to reduce indexation of pension payments, will see more and more Australians simply unable to afford basic health services.
“Australians already pay some of the highest out of pocket costs for health services and medicines in the world ($1,075 per year) and any form of co-payments that the Government is proposing for GP visits, pathology and diagnostic tests will only make it worse.
“We need the Government to take positive action in the fight against poverty and not force more Australians into hardship by introducing a user-pays health system, where you can only get treated if you have the money to pay for it.”
The ANMF, with over 233,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.