Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Plans to charge to attend NSW hospital emergency departments is just economic zealotry

Refusal by Liberal NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to rule out a plan by his Liberal Federal colleagues to introduce a fee to attend NSW hospital emergency departments is a worrying sign.

With reports today asserting that the Abbott Liberal Government has a secret plan to allow State Governments to impose a charge on patients who report to hospital with what turn out to be less serious ailments, Mr O'Farrell needs to come clean with our community.

This is nothing short of a hospital tax that would work alongside the Liberal Party's proposed $6 tax to visit a GP.

Labor's NSW Shadow Health Minister, Dr Andrew McDonald is a highly respected paediatrician that still practices on a pro bono basis. His views on health policy should not be taken lightlyHe says;

“This is crazy health policy that will impact on every person in NSW.”

“Our hospitals are cash free zones. It would cost more to collect the revenue than the revenue that would be received.

“The reason patient costs in emergency departments are high is precisely because most patients who attend do so for a reason – they know their problem is not one for their GP.”

Dr McDonald added that he was concerned people could be deterred from reporting to hospital for what turn out to be serious risks to their health.

“Mums and Dads with sick children will be whacked with a tax to visit the GP – and now a tax to visit the hospital,” Dr McDonald said.

“Once this principle is established – there is nothing to stop a $6 tax from turning into a $36 or even $60 tax.”

This is just the latest round of economic Zealotry. These economic zealots put an actuarial cost on human life, then cut health services and now want to charge for services to deter people form accessing those health services. These Liberals are just a frightening prospect. They give out Knighthoods but want to charge the sick indigent when they go to a hospital. 

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