Doctors in Chifley report drop in number of patients

Ed Husic - File PhotoFederal MP Ed Husic has urged Chifley families not to avoid going to their local GP for fears they will have to pay an Abbott Government $7 GP tax.

Medical Centres are already reporting a marked drop in patient visits since the Abbott Government announced in its proposed Budget that it would introduce a $7 GP Tax.

“Many patients are already cancelling appointments because they are worried they can’t meet the cost of the $7 GP Tax,” said Mr Husic.

“However the Tax does not come into force until 1 July 2015,” Mr Husic added.

“I am very concerned people that need medical attention are staying away from their doctor and risking the deterioration of their health.

“Additionally, doctors who had already been considering retirement have been telling me this will tip them over the edge. Areas with minimal coverage now, like Emerton and Tregear, will struggle for GP services in future.

“Healthcare will not only become less affordable — but it may become less accessible. Some medical clinics in the Chifley electorate have already taken to sending computer-generated text messages to their patients telling them they are continuing to bulk bill.

Mr Husic has discussed the issue of GP visit cancellations with respected family GP Hani Bittar at the Richmond Road Family Practice.

Dr Bittar has expressed concerns patients who need to see their GP are holding off doing so because they believe the GP Tax is already in place and the Abbott Government know our medical professionals won’t leave needy patients unattended. “A GP will not turn away a mother who comes to him with a sick child but without $7.00”, Dr Bittar concluded.