Will we doubt our doctors’ referrals? The AMA slams Medicare cuts 160



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Yesterday we discussed the first cuts to Medicare under the new Liberal government and many of you voiced your concerns, saying they want to destroy an enviable system that benefits patients every single day.

Now the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has condemned suggestions the review into Medicare, saying it won’t improve patients’ safety, and is a “direct attack on the integrity of the medical profession”.

On Sunday, the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, announced the government’s plans to review all of the 5,800 plus items on the Medicare benefits schedule (MBS) so there could be less unnecessary, unsafe and outdated procedures.

“It’s definitely not about winners and losers”, she said. “It’s about patient safety. It’s about building the best possible health system for the 21st century”. Would you agree?

According to figures released by the chair of the review task force, Bruce Robinson, 30 per cent of expenditure on the MBS was being spent on procedures that were potentially harming patients, and a full review had not taken place since Medicare’s introduction, reports The Guardian.

So was a review well overdue? It seems it, but the AMA doesn’t want patients to think doctors have put them at risk with outdated procedures, which could undermine their profession.

“This is a direct attack on the integrity of the medical profession. It is an approach that undermines the confidence that patients have in their doctors. It’s unacceptable”, AMA president Dr Brian Owler told reporters.

“It’s clearly a cost-cutting exercise. It’s about removing services for patients,” Owler said.


The Medicare task force will report back at the end of the year on their findings and what will procedures definitely be trimmed.


So we want to know your thoughts today: Have you lost your trust in your doctors because of the Government’s message that some procedures are dangerous? Or do you think that the Government is to blame?



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  1. No I am not surprised at all that AMA came out and denounced these cuts, it is pretty evident that this is another attack on Medicare. Abbott tried and failed now it is Turnbull’s turn and it is not only an attack against Medicare, it is an attack on aging Australian’s

    8 REPLY
    • I don’t know when liberal voters will understand that liberal policies are about cutting Medicare so if these cuts get through then they need to hold themselves accountable for there votes

    • Maree Ledger Casserly . I agree with you. But what can we ( I ) (we) (us) do???. The politicians only see themselves in the picture. They already have the advantage when they time comes for retire, they have set for life with no problem. But LA UNION HACE LA FUERZA. . But UNITED WILL WIN.

    • The trouble is only half of our population pays tax.That means for everybody who is paying the Medicare Levi it has to service 2 people.That is why their is not enough money.Last financial year the Levi raised $10 Billion but Medicare cost $18 billion.

    • in the news The Australian Medical Association has warned the government that it had undermined its review of the MBS by launching what it called a “political attack” on Medicare and the integrity of doctors.

    • Maree Ledger Casserly and yet they continue to put people out of work, unemployment is the highest is has been for 20 years under this Government and that will increase when the car Industry ends in Australia , they are also bringing another 13,000 refugees who will all use medicare

  2. The AMA is only telling us what we all all knew, that is Liberal Government is determined to stop at nothing to hinder the health and safety of older Australians. The sooner we die the happier they will be

  3. I thought they hadn’t cut anything yet & were only looking at options.

    5 REPLY
    • they sounding us out to see what backlash they are going to get if they implement this, and yes they will get a backlash. Why do you think they targeted tests for the elderly? This Liberal Government does not care about the elderly, we have passed our use by date to them and they think no one else will care about them either

    • I am sure we never got prior knowledge of the cutting of the rebate for Cataracts in half as Medicare couldn’t afford it, , and as it involves 2 operations it is of more concern to pensioners. My friend had hers done one week, I went week after ,same everything cost me thousands more SO how do the Labor Govt care about pensioners , SOME things are over serviced

    • So, we keep funding everything. The population increases, spending on healthcare etc increases, but not the taxation which will fund it all. There’s got to be a magic wand out there somewhere! In a normal household, sometimes our little luxuries are foregone if money is tight. Same for a government I suspect.

    • turn the news on Ruth Cashin susan Ley has confoimed that these test will go into the budget, but the Doctors consider it a political attack on them 🙂

  4. This old Liberal turd is back again, they want destroy medicare by any means, they don’t care who it hurts

    2 REPLY
    • Well all the politicians are OK so why should they care about the public as they will be getting a huge annual package so they can afford it

    • You are right Kay Eller , they have have more than enough money funded by the taxpayer to ensure their health is ok, they don’t care about the rest of us, especially baby boomers

  5. I don’t understand how people can legitimately object to excessive testing . I can however understand a Dr objecting Because many of them have part ownership of some of these diagnostic clinics , so they are not going to get paid for tests that are not necessary .
    Why does everyone have to run with bull^*++ . ? Why don’t they read correctly . No one said there will be NO TESTS , they are LIMITING the amount being ordered .
    It might just make it easier to get one when you need it. Imagine not having to wait for weeks for. an MRI ,
    Or weeks for any other tests. THATS RIGHT !! You WILL STILL get legitimate tests.
    This is more for RMO ‘s who over charge the system .

    7 REPLY
    • You know more than the AMA ? what are you doing here? you should be at your medical practise now should you not?

    • AMA ! Do you know what it stands for ? Uummmmhhh let me see!! Of course Dr’s are going to complain , takes away their freedom to order tests not really required . Have you ever had a test done , been sent to a specialist ? You wait weeks to see him , then he wants the tests redone , at his diagnostic place of choice . When completed you return to him again , surprise the redo tests haven’t changed from the original . But you might as well have let him charge you double to start with , save the running around .
      I like others have had this done on several occasions and you don’t have a say .

      Sorry Rozzie battles , it doesn’t take a very big brain to work these things out . And when I read a document I like to understand what I’m reading , I also like to transfer that information correctly not add on my own translation to try and scare the crap out of everyone .
      I don’t have a problem with limiting tests ,that does not mean nit having them !! It means NOT. Excessively testing . And for those who think 2-4 yearly colonoscopy is an excessive test ? It is not . If you have polyps you get it again in two years , if none second time it’s 3 yrs . That’s normal ! Especially if you have family history of bowel cancer . I know someone who has one every year just to make sure there’s no cancer , excessive testing !!!

    • The AMA stands for the Australian Medical Association, I would NOT come to you for any medical treatment, you are NOT qualified , any more than I would get patient advice about anything from you. The AMA holds a lot of clout in this country as we saw when Abbott tried to implement his charges for medicare. Woe betide the Government who ignores them 🙂

    • Carolyn Brown You are right, my husband was in hospital many times a year, with a bad back, had Xray, MRI everytime, IN CASE. Didn’t matter Private or Public, we still paid Doctors billsAfter 30 years I knew he didnt need this every time. I realise we don’t have enough TAX payers now, haven’t had for 6 or so years

    • Carolyn Brown You are right, my husband was in hospital many times a year, with a bad back, had Xray, MRI everytime, IN CASE. Didn’t matter Private or Public, we still paid Doctors billsAfter 30 years I knew he didnt need this every time. I realise we don’t have enough TAX payers now, haven’t had for 6 or so years

    • Then Dawn Bruce if we haven’t had enough taxpayers for 6 years or so, why is this Liberal Government bringing in 13 thousand more refugees and putting Australians out of work? we have the highest unemployment for 20 years !! There was never a problem when the ALP was in Government 🙂

    • But Professor Owler argued that the health minister Sussan Ley had launched an attack on the medical profession.
      “We are deeply disappointed that the government has launched an attack on Medicare and the integrity of doctors in its rush to cut health funding and services,” he said.

  6. r

    Ok, we have had the same GP for many years now & he is diligent in testing after listening to our symptoms & making an educated assessment but remember he is only a GP & does not like to overstep his bounds. In 2011 he ordered a specialist visit after seeing a meagre rise in psa of only 0.2! I was unconcerned as I didn’t think it was at all significant & would have dismissed it! The specialist decided to take biopsies of the prostate & found 9 of the 11 samples cancerous! 3 months later the prostate was removed & so far I have been cancer free as it was caught confined to the prostate! Now if thats the kind of tests & decisions the politicians & heinous bureaucrats are trying to curtail then forget it! GPs have the most difficult job to do, diagnosis of the millions of conditions that humans can suffer & it is a huge task for which a GP uses tests & more importantly specialist help in order to do his job properly! Better the government fund support for GPs to become better at diagnosis. Glasgow put a hell of a lot into computer assistance of medical diagnosis why not look to taking that further to help GPs identify the myriad of symptoms they see & hear? The bottom line here is, lets go forward In our thinking, not backwards!

    3 REPLY
    • I doubt that will be one of the ones cancelled. You don’t have then all the time ,do you. Depends on the actual test.

    • The use of computer aided diagnosis (particularly in regional and country areas) was a major reason for the NBN but with the complete stuff-up of the NBN by Turnbull these immense savings have been lost – when you are silly enough to elect troglodytes you get a troglodyte government.

  7. Lets all band together and make sure they dont cut our services, remember there is strength in numbers !!!

    4 REPLY
  8. Medicare was founded on the Baby Boomers’ taxes and has surfed along on our support. It has been underfunded for over 20 years and will continue to decline until one political party realises that the best possible platform for political success lies in fixing the funding……not in diminishing the services.

    4 REPLY
  9. Only one way to solve problem, get rid of Liberal/National Government

    4 REPLY
    • Yes John !! Good idea , any one who wants to find ways of cutting down on wasting money must go !! God forbid we should keep spending borrowed money . Maybe that’s how
      Most people live , in debt !!! because they don’t seem to understand you can’t keep spending what you don’t have .

    • It’s funny how there’s been no mention of cutting pollies perks. Seems to be enough money for them

  10. 7 REPLY
    • I don’t like Turncoat but this is actually funny and just goes to show that some people will complain about anything and everything lol

    • Yes fancy people wanting their taxes spent on a world class medical system? Let’s give more billions to the tax avoiders I say!

    • Complain about everything? The only thing we have is our health, without it we’re dead!

    • Yes ! fancy people expecting the tax payer to pick up the bill for EXCESSIVE TESTS . You don’t get good health from having unlimited excessive tests when you don’t need them . But Dr ‘s do . You keep their little on the side income going ! You know the ones who are partners in this clinics . Or do you think they DONT have these kick backs ?

    • I would still prefer to have money spent on helping people. Funny how people don’t object to helping the tax avoiders add to the trillions in the tax havens but don’t care if people get tests that may prevent serious disease.

    • Carolyn Brown how do you know they are excessive ? because this Liberal Government is telling you so !! YOU are NOT a doctor and you are not qualified to give advice. This same Liberal Government also lied to get into Government. Why on earth would any sensible person believe them ?

    • I’m a taxpayer too you know. Who decides what excessive testing is, the doctor or some pen pusher in Canberra?

  11. I think that with the speed that medical research is happening that procedures have to be under constant review. For instance I am in the process of deciding whether to change my yearly mammogram/ultrasound for an MRI. My doctor thinks that in my case an MRI will be more effective. I am going to do my own research and make my decision. We all have to own our health and I am sure that a lot of tests and procedures that people are subjected to are not always necessary or perhaps the wrong procedures. I have seen this with friends of ours.

    4 REPLY
    • I agree, my husband was in hospital time & time again ,with a bad back AND most times he had an Xray or MRI every time he went in to hospital .maybe 6 times a year, just to make sure there were no changes. This went on for 30 years. Tonsils. This was a no no in the 70s & 80s , NO one had them out BUT now they are taking them out after a number of attacks .

    • Merran Heather Brown I haven’t made my decision yet. Still doing my research. I have a year to decide. Just had my mammogram/ultrasound 2 weeks ago. Talked to the technicians about it and they think that mammo/ult is the way to go. I have to get on the internet and search some reputable web sites. My doctor is very good and he will discuss with me and give me his opinion but the final decision is mine.

    • Well Dawn, under these new proposed change your husband wouldn’t have been able to have those tests. He would have had to sit at home and worry. Maybe the tests weren’t needed anyway , just a waste of everyone’s time and money

  12. It seems to have become a system that requires the patient to demand they get the treatment they need. GPs do have a difficult job as Ben mentioned. How about GPs working in consultation with patients rather than letting bureaucrats dictate which medical treatments occur? Bean counters have NO place in medicine.

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