2 March 2011 Gillard Labor and trouble-prone Health Minister Nicola Roxon have trashed the pathology sector in Australia.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton warned today that pathology was on an unsustainable path which would lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for patients.
“This government just dives from one disaster to the next and there’s no better example of that than in the health portfolio,” he said.
“Nicola Roxon should explain to patients why they’re faced with increasing out-of-pocket expenses for pathology services.”
Mr Dutton said the Coalition was extremely concerned about the pathology sector after Labor had trashed a Memorandum of Understanding between the industry and government, then slashed Medicare rebates for 259 items and overseen an unsustainable 40 per cent growth in the number of collection centres in the last eight months.
He said Ms Roxon had taken those damaging decisions without any consultation with pathology providers.
A Coalition motion in the Senate to disallow new regulations for pathology collection centres should cause the government to pause and enter meaningful negotiations with the pathology sector to ensure its sustainability.
“There are indications that some of the 1000 new collection centres that have opened since last July are not sustainable.”
“There are instances where non-commercial rates of rent are being paid, some practices just aren’t delivering the services that were promised, combined with rising costs and lower Medicare rebates that will force big increases in out-of-pocket expenses for patients.”
Mr Dutton said the government had the capacity to enable existing centres to continue operating, but must put in place proper measures to ensure the pathology sector remained sustainable.