Premier

Bendigo Patients Hit By Malcolm Turnbull’s Unfair Fees

16 August 2018

Bendigo patients are being slugged hefty out-of-pocket expenses to visit GPs and specialists because of Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Liberals’ Medicare freeze.

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that patients are still being hit hard by bill shock, where doctors charge surprise fees for services that aren’t absorbed by Medicare that patients can’t afford.

In Bendigo:

  • 75 per cent of patients accessing specialists’ services are being hit with an average out-of-pocket cost of $56
  • 39 per cent of patients attending obstetric appointments are being slugged an average out-of-pocket cost of $140
  • 39 per cent of patients visiting a GP are being charged an average out-of-pocket fee of $17

When patients can’t afford to go to the GP, many turn to our already busy emergency departments, leading to further strain, while some patients will forego treatment altogether – risking their long-term health.

Out-of-pocket costs can be even more exorbitant when patients are treated by specialists or surgeons for serious illness or injury – and in many cases, the fees aren’t disclosed until it’s too late.

Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Liberals are locked in a talk fest as they try to dance around the issue, but it’s time they took action to ensure fees are disclosed to patients before their first appointment.

Liberals have form when it comes to undermining Medicare, cost-shifting and gutting health.

They cut a billion dollars when they were last in power in Victoria – and they’ll do it again if they get the chance. You can’t trust the Liberals when it comes to health, because all they do is cut and cost-shift.

Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“When Central Victorians can’t afford to visit their GP, nobody wins. It puts added strain on our busy emergency departments – and delays treatment that ultimately makes patients sicker.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan

“The Turnbull Government can’t ignore this issue any longer - vulnerable patients who have no choice but to access treatment are not being given the information they deserve.”

Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“The Federal Liberals should have worked it out by now - cost of living pressures matter to Australians. They need to do more to expose and crack down on unfair fees.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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