Nurses to Health Minister: drop co-payments

Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) have reiterated their vehement opposition to the Abbott Government’s proposed introduction of co-payments for GP visits and out of hospital pathology or diagnostic tests.

During the 69th annual conference* of the NSWNMA last week a large number of notices of motion were debated by delegates, including a resolution to lobby against the government’s plan for a $7 Medicare co-payment.
General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said nurses and midwives were passionate about retaining a universal healthcare system in Australia and are alarmed by the prospect of shifting towards an American-style managed care health system, where private health insurance companies dominate a profit-run health system.

“Our members are determined to continue voicing their concerns about the attacks on Medicare and the important role our universal healthcare system plays in delivering access to primary care for everyone,” Mr Holmes said.

“Nurses and midwives across NSW are the first to point out the adverse impact co-payments would have on disadvantaged members of our communities and the increased burden co-payments would generate for already stretched hospital services.

“Cost-shifting, in the form of co-payments, onto people who need the most support is not the answer to how the government can strengthen Medicare for the future – introducing co-payments will have the complete opposite effect and will likely destroy the universality of the health scheme.

“We will not let up on the fight against the Abbott Government’s proposed changes to Medicare, along with their other regressive budget measures outlined in Health Minister Peter Dutton’s portfolio.”
Community outrage towards the planned changes to Medicare continues to gain momentum. This evening, Save Medicare Sydney will host a ‘Hands off Public Health’ community forum at the Trades Hall Auditorium in Goulburn Street, Sydney. Mr Holmes will be one of several guest speakers to address the event.

Download this media release: Nurses tell Health Minister to drop co-payment idea

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