Senate health committee hears damning evidence

The Senate committee investigating the nation’s health system has again heard evidence that the Federal Government’s health policy will cause serious and long-term problems, perversely inflate costs, increase the burden of disease and put at risk the public health system.

At the hearing in Gosford on Wednesday, March 11, the committee heard from witness after witness about the disastrous effect the policies will have on the health of the nation. The Australian Paramedic Association (APA) was scathing about the disturbing reality of the situation on the Central Coast. “It is a crisis situation and the whole system on the Coast is overwhelmed,” Mr Jeff Andrew from the APA said. “Last week I spent six hours with a patient on a trolley at Gosford Hospital, which means the ambulance was off the road for that entire time. “This pressure on emergency departments means that ambulances are not available to be back on the road when they are needed.” Australia Medical Association NSW president Dr Saxon Smith said the government needs to consult the evidence. “When you have political ideology driving policy development, you just don’t get good policy. “If you place a cost barrier between local people and their GP, the only place they can turn is to the local Emergency Department,” Dr Smith said. Committee chair Senator Deborah O’Neill said it was clear the Abbott Government was not interested in listening to expert local advice on its disastrous health policies. “The public needs to know what a desperate and chaotic state the health system will descend into under Tony Abbott’s proposals. “His changes to healthcare are based on the ill-informed notion that Medicare is unsustainable. “This, as the committee has found, is patently wrong. “If Tony Abbott and Sussan Ley get away with this, it will destroy the notion of universal healthcare and Medicare that has been central to our nation’s wellbeing,” Senator O’Neill said.

Media release,
11 Mar 2015
Anne Charlton,

Office of Deborah O’Neill