Cost of visiting a GP up by 38 per cent

Emma McBride MP and Pat Conroy MP

Official new data confirms what Northerners already knew, that healthcare costs have never been higher, and it’s got Shortland MP, Pat Conroy, on the warpath.

It comes after the NSW Health Department revealed to the Senate that people in Shortland pay an average out of pocket fee of $37.23 to see a GP.

A record high, up $10.32 or 38 per cent, since the Liberal Party was elected.

According to Conroy, the Health Department also contradicted the government’s claims on bulk billing, admitting that 44.5 per cent of patients in Shortland have to pay to see a GP.

Specialist out of pocket fees are also at record highs, with people in Shortland paying an average $82.55 to see a specialist, up a staggering $25.52 or 45 per cent, with just 23.5 per cent always bulk billed by their specialist.

Conroy said these figures are a damning indictment of the Coalition’s record of cuts and neglect in health.

“During the largest pandemic in a century, the Morrison Government has made it more expensive for people in Shortland to see their doctor.

“One of the main issues my constituents raise with me is the cost of seeing a doctor.

“They regularly tell me that they cannot afford to see their GP anymore.

“This is a disgrace, particularly during this pandemic when the health advice is to go and see your doctor if you are feeling unwell,” Conroy said.

And things aren’t much better for the rest of the North, with Dobell MP Emma McBride, confirming similarly high rates across the board.

In Dobell the average out of pocket fee to see a GP is $33.45, a price hike of $8 or 31 per cent, with 24.9 per cent of patients having to pay to see a GP.

Specialist cost increases were also higher across the board, with the average out of pocket fee to see a specialist in the electorate $85.19, up $29.53 or 53 per cent, with 24.3 per cent of patients always bulk billed.

Shadow Health Minister, Chris Bowen, said the higher rates were a direct result of the government’s Medicare Freeze.

“After the Liberals tried and failed to impose a GP Tax, they introduced the Medicare Freeze, a GP Tax by stealth.

“Scott Morrison extended the freeze as Treasurer, leading directly to the out of pocket costs that people on the Central Coast face today.

“Health costs have never been higher than under Scott Morrison,” he said.

Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, was approached for comment.

Dilon Luke