- The Federal Government has begun the sales job for its “better” GP co-payment proposal as it prepares for another round of crucial negotiations with the Senate crossbench to pass the measure.
- The Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales says Australians of African descent are being discriminated against because of the Ebola epidemic overseas.
- Paramedics fed up with being assaulted on the job in South Australia want tougher restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Port Augusta.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 11th December 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News
The Federal Government has begun the sales job for its “better” GP co-payment proposal as it prepares for another round of crucial negotiations with the Senate crossbench to pass the measure.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced yesterday the original proposal to force patients to pay an extra $7 fee for GP visits had been dumped.
But the new plan cuts the Medicare rebate given to doctors by $5, putting pressure on GPs to charge patients the shortfall.
Mr Abbott denied the change was a backdown.
Under the Government’s proposal 8 million patients, including children, pensioners, veterans, nursing home residents and others with concession cards would be exempt.
A co-payment on pathology and diagnostic imaging services has been dropped.
And in a bid to stop “sausage machine” medicine, the Government will only pay the standard rebate for consultations of at least 10 minutes.
The level of rebate will also be frozen over the forward estimates.
Doctors have reacted angrily to the news, accusing the Government of creating a two-tiered health system.
The Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) Dr Brian Moreton said most GPs would probably charge patients more.
While Labor supports the move to encourage more time with patients, the switch has not budged its voting position.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Government was introducing a GP tax “through the back door”.
The Greens also criticised the proposal, saying it would force doctors “to do the Government’s dirty work”.
It puts the fate of the new plan squarely in the hands of the splintered Senate crossbench – where the Government will need to secure six of the eight votes.
The Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales says Australians of African descent are being discriminated against because of the Ebola epidemic overseas.
This year’s outbreak of Ebola has claimed more than 6000 lives in West Africa.
Prevention measures and border security are being ramped up around the world.
Anti-Discrimination board president, Stepan Kerkaysharian said Australians residents of African appearance are being harassed, disrespected and abused, amid fears they’re infected with Ebola.
He said Australia’s underlying racist attitudes need to be addressed with incidents being reported in both rural and urban areas.
The board has moved to quash concerns residents of African appearance could transmit the highly infectious disease.
He said such assumptions are absolutely unfair, irrational and amount to racial vilification.
“Ebola does not know any racial boundaries, such discrimination comes down to personal insecurity.”
“It can be transmitted from one person to another, regardless of a person’s race,” Mr Kerkaysharian said.
Mr Kerkaysharian said rural and regional communities tend to be more accepting of migrants compared to metropolitan areas, but incidents are being reported across the state.
Paramedics fed up with being assaulted on the job in South Australia want tougher restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Port Augusta.
Ambulance Employees’ Association state secretary Phil Palmer said “more often than not” alcohol was associated with assaults and there “was a lot of them” in the regional town.
He was one of about 20 paramedics who attended the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court on Tuesday where a man pleaded guilty to stabbing a paramedic in the leg last month.
Mr Palmer was supported by SA Ambulance Service chief executive officer Robert Morton who said changes to the sale of takeaway alcohol, such as those introduced to Coober Pedy last year, could work in Port Augusta.
The rules banned takeaway sales of cask wine, and sales of other wine and spirits were limited to one bottle per person daily.
Paramedics have pledged to continue to attending court hearings in uniform to support colleagues that were attacked on the job.
Mr Morton said it was an indication of the depth of feeling across the workforce towards assaults on paramedics.
Mr Palmer said they were not trying to put pressure on magistrates.
“It’s to show workmates that workmates look after each other, and if one paramedic is injured, then it’s the same as injuring the whole lot,” he said.
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