Today, the Senate Inquiry into the Accessibility and Quality of Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Australia came to Mt Isa.
Over the past few months, the Inquiry has been travelling across Australia listening to health and community services about the importance of secure and proper funding regional health services.
The Inquiry has heard from community organisations about relying on one short term contract after another, which means they can’t plan for the future.
We have also heard from providers that the lack of resources and subsidised mental health services means patients are choosing to abandon mental health plans, because they can’t afford to continue.
The Inquiry has also uncovered that there is a higher level of need in rural and remote communities for mental health services, but far lower rates of access for people struggling.
Unfortunately, issues like lack of access, spiralling cost and contract instability is reflected across the entire health sector.
Under the Liberals we have seen an unprecedented attack on our health system, which has harmed regional Queensland the most.
The continued freeze on the Medicare rebate means billions ripped out of our health system and out of patients’ pockets.
A report released by the Government’s own Institute of Health and Welfare showed that Medicare bulk billing rates and out-of-pocket costs are spiralling under the LNP
The report showed that 43% of Western Queenslanders will have to pay out of pocket for non-hospital health services. For some Western Queenslanders, that amount is up to $500 a year.
It’s shocking that patients are being expected to pay hundreds of dollars for medical treatments they need, because the LNP refuse to unfreeze the Medicare rebate immediately.
This is on top of the $160 million they’re ripping out of Queensland hospitals, including $1.2 million from the Mt Isa Hospital.
That means fewer nurses, fewer doctors and more cost for the patient.
Unfortunately, new Prime Minister does not mean new policies. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is the person who has been pushing these cuts in his role as Treasurer.
While Morrison was cutting millions from our hospitals and forcing Western Queenslanders to pay more, he was also trying to give a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks.
These are the same banks that are currently being exposed in the Royal Commission for ripping off customers!
But don’t worry, Scott Morrison voted 26 times against a Royal Commission into the banks too.
This is exactly what we get from Scott Morrison and the LNP – tax cuts for the big banks, while our regional health services are slashed and burned.
This lot are never going to change – same big end of town policies, different Prime Minister.
The only way to make sure hospitals are put before banks is by voting Labor at the next election.