MPs issue health service warning

SOUTH Coast health-care jobs could be axed if the federal government makes any cuts to Medicare Local in next week’s budget.

Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local chief executive Dianne Kitcher met with MPs last week to discuss fears the service, set up under the Rudd government, would be scrapped.

Cunningham MP Sharon Bird said the region’s diverse population meant a variety of Medicare Local services were crucial to the community.

“The government talks about them as though they’re a bunch of bureaucrats, but they’re not, they’re direct service delivery for really important preventative health initiatives,” she said.

Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis said although Medicare Local was under review, no decisions would be made until the issue had gone to the minister.

“I haven’t wasted time and energy on possible maybes … we are looking at the positive things,” she said.

“We will fight for the people who live here as a number one priority.”

Illawarra MP Stephen Jones said Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local had an important role co-ordinating health services and the community was concerned they would no longer have access to vital services.

“My big concern is we will see a reduction in health services.”

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