LOCAL nurses have voiced their concerns over the Turnbull Government’s cuts to the health system.
Scone-based members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NMA) took to Kelly Street on Thursday morning to inform the community.
The Federal Government’s plan will see $57 billion in funding removed from the nation’s health budget over the next 10 years.
Medicare has been heavily targeted, with $650 million worth of cuts to bulk billing incentives for diagnostic imaging and pathology services expected to take effect on July 1.
A delegate from the NSWNMA, Dixie Moses, said people should not be asked to choose between a Medicare or bank card.
“Why should someone die in this day and age because they can’t afford to go to the doctor?,” she said.
“Medicare was put in place to prevent that, so everyone could go to the doctor and get medical care.
“We want that to continue; you should be able to get medical care no matter who you are.”
NSWNMA organiser Michael Kirby called on all candidates for the New England electorate to help restore funding for the good of the local community.
He said regional hospitals would feel the impact more because of the higher nurse-to-patient ratios.
“What we need is funding arrangements that allow staffing numbers to be increased,” he said.
“With this $57 billion being taken away, it’s looking quite dire in our chances to get there.
“So we need all political parties in the electorate to commit to restoring that funding so we can keep regional towns safe.”
Mr Kirby said, based on statistics gathered by the association, the chance of morbidity and death goes up seven per cent for every patient added to a nurse’s workload.
“If you go to a city hospital, they have a ratio of one nurse to every four patients,” he said.
“In regional ones like Scone the ratio is more like one to five or six, depending on the day.”
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