SHOALHAVEN Hospital’s emergency department faces being overwhelmed by patients unable to pay the $7 co-payment for visits to the doctor, according to South Coast MP Shelley Hancock.
Mrs Hancock said the upfront fee was beyond the reach of many people in the region who were already struggling to make ends meet.
She was also concerned the recently announced Whole of Hospital Reform package implemented at the hospital to improve treatment times in the emergency department would be undermined.
“The announcement of the co-payment could possible defeat the whole purpose of the exercise.
“It’s very frustrating to have just implemented the program, which includes the provision of 10 extra beds in the emergency department, to have it placed in jeopardy.”
Mrs Hancock also criticised the federal government’s announcement in the budget to strip $80 billion from health funding.
“If you shift costs back to the states it’s definitely going to impact on our ability to provide services,” Mrs Hancock said.
She also took aim at the government’s decision to end funding under the Gonski reform package from 2017.
“We were the first state to sign up to those reforms and as a former teacher I know they are sorely needed.
“The reforms were designed to help disadvantaged students and now there is a big question mark hanging over their future.”