General Practice short-changed in Labor’s cooked-books Budget
May 9, 2012
Primary care funding has been downgraded in last night’s cooked books budget with $83.5 million ripped from cervical cancer screening, diabetes care and immunisations that are managed in general practice, said the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Healthcare, Andrew Southcott.
“The cuts to Primary Care are just another example that Wayne Swan and the Labor Government are more worried about providing their artificial budget surplus than providing proper patient care” Dr Southcott said.
The Government are planning to spend less money on cervical cancer screening and diabetes care by reducing the number of practices that will receive incentive payments for providing this care.
Included with the reduction to the practice incentive payments, the Government have also scrapped the General Practice Immunisation Incentive which encouraged GP’s to immunise 90% of the children under 7 attending their practice.
“This is a concerning announcement that has been criticised by both the AMA and the RACGP, two of the peak bodies representing General Practice in Australia.”
“The decision to cut the Immunisation incentive has serious public health implications and threatens the long term success of Australia’s childhood immunisation program.”
Further cuts to Primary care include the scrapping of the Government’s own Telehealth Support Initiative after less than twelve months in operation, saving $183.9 million over five years.
And in a brutal admission of the Program’s failure, the Government have also hacked $44 million in waste from their own GP Super Clinics Program.
Their own budget papers show that 9 GP Super Clinics will not even start delivering services until the 2015-16 financial year, more than 5 years after they were originally announced.
“What was once a flagship health program, relentlessly defended by the Health Minister is now being sacrificed as a budget saving.”
“The Governments budget cuts in Primary Healthcare clearly show that it was Labor’s own policies and announcements that contained the most waste, with more than $220 million saved from the cuts to Telehealth and GP Super Clinics alone.”