GP co-payment will lead to poorer health outcomes

Dr Ewa Piejko

Dr Ewa Piejko

LODDON Mallee Murray Medicare Local's new medical adviser Dr Ewa Piejko says the federal government's proposed $7 GP co-payment will prevent people from getting the care they need.

"I suppose I'm echoing what the college of GPs is saying," Dr Piejko said.

"They think the co-payment will actually hinder patients from accessing care that they need.

"They won't be presenting so that will make it much more difficult for us to provide the care that they need for the prevention because they'll either put things off and not come, meaning we can't to do that preventive stuff and keep them up to date and involved.

"We won't be able to make sure their vaccinations are right, check their diabetes is under control and provide all of those preventative measures so the overall health is going to be worse.

"Overall, the general consensus from most doctors is this co-payment is going to be difficult to administer and it might actually put in a barrier for good patient care, especially for those patients who can't afford it."

Meanwhile, Castlemaine doctors are banding together to fight the proposal which was outlined in May's federal budget.

The Castlemaine Medical Group represents the town's 21 general practitioners and has drafted a letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, expressing concern about the proposed budget implementation.

Group spokeswoman Dr Louisa Hope said a co-payment would put additional strain on public hospitals and emergency departments.

"It will push a lot of vulnerable people who can't afford the co-payment onto the public hospitals and the emergency departments of the public hospitals and some people will miss out on the treatment they need," she said.

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