11 April 2011 The Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton today welcomed the certainty for the pathology sector that would be provided by a new agreement with the Commonwealth Government.
The previous Coalition Government had a longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with the sector which effectively managed government outlays for pathology services, but the Rudd-Gillard Labor Government failed to renew the MOU when it ended in 2009.
In the wake of that decision bulk-billing rates slipped and patients were hit with higher out of pocket costs for pathology tests.
Mr Dutton said the Coalition had been calling for a new arrangement since the previous MOU ended.
“It’s taken Nicola Roxon and the Gillard Government a long time to realise that they needed to consult and work with the pathology sector,” Mr Dutton said.
“Now we need to see whether Labor can be trusted to keep the terms of their agreement.”
“Their track record is poor. They signed an MOU with Medicines Australia and trashed it shortly after by refusing to follow recommendations of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to list new medicines on the PBS.”
“That decision was not only against the intent of the MOU – it was one that ended decades of bi-partisan support for the PBS and denied patients vital new drugs.”
Mr Dutton said it was yet more evidence that everything the Labor Government touched turned sour.