Nurses fight back against cuts to Medicare
LOCAL health care workers joined the Unions on Saturday to launch Health Week and publicly denounce the cuts to Medicare and aged care funding.
Remana Harris, President of the NSW Nurse and Midwife Association Grafton Base Hospital branch, said if the cuts are implemented, Australia's healthcare system will be greatly effected.
"That's going to effect everyone in our community, we have a lot of people in our community with chronic illnesses and already they can't afford some of the services they need so they come to the hospital," Mrs Harris said.
"Quite often we do get backlogged in the hospital with people who just can't afford the healthcare outside of Medicare bulk billing.
"If they implement these cuts, it's going to get a hell of a lot worse."
Mrs Harris said healthcare professionals are already struggling with the increase of patients in the current system and she can't imagine what it will be like if the cuts were passed.
"We struggle with the ratio and the skill mix that we have at the moment," she added.
Mrs Harris said that regional hospitals like Grafton Base Hospital will be even worse off if the cuts pass.
"We don't get a fair go as it is, we're relatively isolated and now we are probably going to become even more isolated and with less services," she said.
"That's really going to hurt us as people who work in the hospital."
The proposed cuts to aged care were also a worry to Mrs Harris, who said hospitals could turn into a form of respite service.
"Potentially we could be a kind of respite service I think for elderly patients who don't have any access to nursing services at the nursing homes that decide not to have an RN twenty-four-seven.
"At the moment it feels like our hands are tied and we cannot keep doing what we are doing without the help of the federal government keeping the funding where it should be in the health services.
Mrs Harris was joined by Mark Lowe, President of the HSU sub branch, who said the cuts will put a bigger drain on the services provided in hospitals.
"When we've got one dietitian cover two hospitals and the community it's just not good enough," he said.
"We need more money to provide the services to the community that they deserve."
"If we can provide those services, it in turn releases the pressure on EDs and our nurses."