The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has cautiously welcomed reports the Abbott Government is moving to shelve its unpopular $7 GP fee – for the time being.
But with speculation the Government may try to introduce co-payments through regulation rather than legislation, ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas has warned: Don’t relax just yet!
“The news that Mr Abbott is considering shelving plans for co-payments for GP visits is certainly a relief for nurses and midwives all across the country and for the people they care for each and every day,” Ms Thomas said today.
“As part of our Lies, Cuts and Broken Promises campaign, our members have fought long and hard against co-payments.
“Today, we are pleased to see Mr Abbott has lost Round 1 of the battle, but with the Government continuing to send mixed messages on whether the GP fee is in or out, we are warning the community that we can’t all relax just yet.
“We’re still very concerned Mr Abbott remains determined to destroy Medicare and will try again to introduce a co-payment for basic health services through the back door.
“We are urging the Government to listen to health experts and the community whose voices against the co-payment have been loud and strong since the May Budget.
“The clear message from them is hands off Medicare.
“As Australia’s largest health union, representing over 240,000 nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing, the ANMF will continue our strong leadership in advocating for our health systems and the community, as we have shown with our Lies, Cuts and Broken Promises campaign.
“Rest assured, our fight against any form of co-payment will go on.”