From this Saturday 1 August, it will be harder for local people to access electrocardiograms (ECGs) thanks to changes by the Morrison Government.
Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP said she was shocked the government was pushing forward with changes that will mean GPs will no longer receive a rebate for interpreting the tests, significantly impacting those in regional and rural Australia who don’t have easy access to specialists.
Mrs Phillips has called on the Minister for Health to reconsider this as a matter of urgency.
“We are in the middle of a global health emergency and the Morrison Government is cutting our health care subsidies – doesn’t that just say it all,” Fiona Phillips said.
“I am sick of seeing local people being disadvantaged because the government doesn’t understand health care services in regional and rural Australia,” she said.
Fiona Phillips said this will put lives at risk, with local doctors left asking how they will decide if their patients experiencing chest pains are safe to return home, or should be sent to hospital. Some are even questioning whether or not it is viable to keep their practice going in a regional area.
“This is simply unacceptable,” Mrs Phillips said.
Cardiovascular disease is Australia’s biggest killer, causing 27 per cent of deaths in Australia. The Government should be making it easier for Australians to check their heart health, not harder.
“We know that cardiovascular disease hospitalisation is 30 per cent higher for those living in remote and very remote areas than in major cities. People in regional areas deserve better than this,” Fiona Phillips said.
GPs are qualified to interpret ECG tests, they should BE endorsed for doing so, not defunded.
Mrs Phillips said she had today written to the Minister asking him to reverse the changes and she hopes he will do so before Saturday so that local lives are not put in danger.
*Photo taken at the Callala Medical Centre with Dr Jingjing Zhou, Dr Jeanie Paton and Dr Jennifer Ram.