The NSW government may ask GPs to work from hospitals to allow patients to dodge the proposed co-payment scheme.
A plan to ask NSW GPs to work out of hospitals, enabling patients to dodge the federal government’s proposed co-payment scheme, has been labelled “extraordinary” by opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen.
NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner raised the idea during an interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Friday night.
“I’m going to be looking at options which invite a GP, for example, into the hospital to treat that patient,” Ms Skinner told the ABC.
“Now they’re funded through Medicare by the commonwealth. So that’s a cost shift to the commonwealth and that’s exactly who should be paying for it. That’s their obligation.”
The federal government has proposed a $7 fee for patients to see GPs, with Labor vowing to block the move.
By having GPs work from hospitals, the NSW government believes it would allow patients to circumvent the payments.
Mr Bowen called the idea “extraordinary” and said it demonstrated the widespread anger over the co-payment proposal.
“It’s extraordinary that states could even be contemplating inviting general practitioners into hospitals so that they could get around paying the GP tax,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“This just shows the strength of feeling – the anger not only in the community but also at the level of the state governments, who have every right to be angry with the commonwealth government.”
NSW Premier Mike Baird will host an emergency meeting of state and territory leaders on Sunday to discuss the co-payment proposal and their broader response to the federal government’s $80 billion cuts to schools and hospitals over the next 10 years.
Protesters are also set to voice their anger over the federal budget, with rallies planned in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.
One co-organiser of the ‘March Australia’ events foreshadowed potential violence during the rallies, which are being held to voice disapproval of the Abbott government.
It follows the ‘March in March’ rallies earlier this year, which were said to have attracted tens of thousands of protesters to events across Australia.
“Marches are urged to keep the peace,” one of the Sydney organisers said.
“Any dangerous behaviour is to be brought to the attention of police.”