The country’s biggest health union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), has welcomed the Abbott Government’s backflip on its proposed GP tax after a tireless campaign by nurses and midwives who warned it would destroy Medicare.
“Our members have fought hard against Mr Abbott’s plans to introduce co-payments for basic health services,” ANMF Federal Secretary, Lee Thomas, said today
“From the start, we all knew it was flawed policy that would hurt all Australians, particularly families, the elderly and those who are some of the most vulnerable in our communities, ultimately resulting in the dismantling of Australia’s system of universal healthcare.
“The ANMF warned Mr Abbott that a GP tax would merely shift health costs on to individual patients at a time when Australians suffer some of the highest out of pocket health costs in the OECD.
“We have always maintained that Australians should have access to quality healthcare when they need it, where they need it. It shouldn’t be available to those who have the money to pay for it, otherwise we will end up with an Americanised two-tiered health system, where you only get treatment if you can afford to pay for it.
“While nurses and midwives are obviously relieved that the Abbott Government has abandoned his plans for co-payments, they remain reserved about further challenges to the health system. The Government must commit to ceasing its attacks on universal healthcare and outline how it will work with the ANMF and other health groups, through genuine consultation, to strengthen our public health system.
“So far, the Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley, has refused our requests to meet with the ANMF, but nurses and midwives along with other health groups can give the Government the expert information and direction they need to ensure a sustainable, quality health system for all Australians. The Minister must commence real consultation as a matter of urgency.”
The ANMF, with over 240,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.
ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.