AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the Government’s proposed voluntary enrolment plan for people with diabetes is policy on the run that will make it more difficult for patients to access vital GP services.
Dr Pesce said the AMA appreciates that the Government wants to address the special care needs of people with complex and chronic conditions, but today’s rushed policy is an announcement for Premiers, not patients.
“It is clear that linking this announcement to relieving pressure on hospitals is designed to have more of a positive effect on the Premiers than on people with diabetes,” Dr Pesce said.
“By removing fee for service, the Government is removing patient choice about their primary care and eroding the individual doctor-patient relationship.
“The Government claims that existing funding arrangements encourage ‘six minute medicine’. The new arrangements would encourage ‘no minute medicine’ as GPs would be forced to refer patients with diabetes to other specialists such as endocrinologists.
“The AMA was not consulted on this policy, yet the Government is proposing a scheme that limits the amount of funds available for care of patients with diabetes.
“The Government is effectively encouraging the voluntary removal of Medicare benefits for these patients.
“The AMA and other groups have been offered consultation on the implementation arrangements for this policy, but only after the important decisions have been made.
“The Government should have learned from last year’s Budget cuts to cataract surgery and other procedures that serious consultation with the medical profession should occur before the policy is developed, not after the event.
“It is vital that the Government consult properly before it finalises its entire primary care policy,” Dr Pesce said.
31 March 2010
John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
Peter Jean 02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753
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