Health cuts to force Gladstone clinics to close their doors
LABOR'S Flynn candidate Zac Beers said he'd pick putting food on his family table over forking out for a lifesaving cancer check.
With unemployment up 0.3 per cent in the Fitzroy region in the latest quarter, Mr Beers said it's a decision locals will increasingly mull over if the Government's cuts to bulkbilling get up.
The cuts, an average 10% reduction on potentially lifesaving bulkbilling services, will save the Government $11.8 billion.
Bronwyn Nicholson, general manager of radiology company IMED's Queensland clinics, is one of many industry heads who told the Senate Select Committee on Health in Gladstone today that the 10% cut could mean closures.
"There absolutely is a risk -- hopefully not for us," she said.
"For us to continue to provide services, a 10% cut in one of our biggest revenue streams -- it could be quite devastating."
She said the "most likely outcome" is her company would pass on the gap to patients, as "the bottom line in radiology is thinning".
Senator Deborah O'Neill, in Gladstone today to head the committee, said Ms Nicholson echoes health professionals across Australia who are saying, "there are no more efficiencies to be gained".
"We've got threats of closure of these services -- it's very difficult for the people here in Gladstone already.
LISTEN: Sen. Deborah O'Neil recalls compelling testimony from a nurse
Sen. O'Neill said one of Gladstone's most compelling testimonies was from a nurse who after a 24-year career, is seeing "quality slip".
She said as hospitals rein in costs, senior nurses are being pulled away from management positions to fill the gap in "basic services".
"I asked her, 'what is the risk?'" and she said, 'well, the risk is death'."