Queensland Premier Campbell Newman fears more patients will visit hospital emergency rooms to avoid a GP co-payment.
Queensland’s premier fears hospital emergency departments will be stretched as patients are forced to pay $7 to visit a doctor.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s $80 billion cuts to health and education funding are angering the states, with premiers and chief ministers preparing to meet in Sydney on Sunday.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said a new $7 doctor co-payment will make more people queue at hospital emergency departments.
“We will remain concerned about the impact on the EDs,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
“I am fearful that we will see people turning up to avoid the co-payment but we’re not going to charge people at our hospitals.”
State Treasurer Tim Nicholls says hospitals and schools stand to be affected as Canberra punished states that had already trimmed their spending.
“You would have to wait longer to get treatment at a hospital because we wouldn’t be able to have as many doctors or nurses on hand to be able to treat people,” he told Fairfax Radio.
Queensland has Australia’s shortest elective surgery waiting times, with a median waiting time of 27 days compared with a national average of 36 days during the last financial year.
March quarter figures released on Thursday also show Queenslanders waiting shorter times for ambulances, dental check-ups, and in emergency departments than ever before.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a bit rich for Mr Newman to criticise Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s budget cuts.
“Now all of a sudden you’ve got him crying wolf at Tony Abbott – for goodness sake, Tony Abbott used Campbell Newman’s budget cuts as his own blueprint,” she told reporters.