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No wonder the accident and emergency rooms are stressed

By Brianna 25 January 2012 40

My son today ended up with a piece of wood impaled in the ball of his foot. I was unable to remove the wood myself. This necessitated a visit to the medical practice to see if the clinic nurse could remove the wood.  I thought it was better to go to my local medical practice so I wouldn’t be attending the accident and emergency for a little thing, thus taking up valuable resources.

After this visit, I find I sympathise with people going to A & E for small problems.

The clinic nurse told me a doctor would have to look at it.  After the doctor had a look at it, he gave a local anaesthetic and after a suitable amount of numbing time, he proceeded to remove the wood.  To do this he had to cut the foot a little and so my son ended up with three stitches.

The hurtful part of this is that all up, it cost $305 of which I received a rebate of  $127 from Medicare.

I am fortunate to be able to sort of afford this medical bill.  How on earth do people on the pension or Newstart afford bills like this?  They can’t.  That’s why they go to the hospital accident and emergency rooms.  They can’t afford $75 for a doctors visit and they sure as hell can’t afford an extra $130 odd for a treatment.

Trying to find a doctor who bulk bills is virtually impossible.  

What’s Your opinion?


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40 Responses to
No wonder the accident and emergency rooms are stressed
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poplife 1:57 am 17 Jun 12

PatMan said :

Try and find an accountant or a lawyer that bulk bills

Lawyers and Accountants aren’t supplemented by the tax payer through financial initiatives…

astrojax 12:40 pm 27 Jan 12

and how is your son now, anyway? hope he heals quickly and learns to wear shoes as needs be… 🙂

davo101 9:39 am 27 Jan 12

Bosworth said :

dungfungus, do you know how the Consolidated Revenue Fund works?

Probably not. Most riotactors seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding the concept of fungibility.

davo101 9:29 am 27 Jan 12

dungfungus said :

The information on the link refers to the Medicare levy “as a proportion of total amount spent on healthcare” – it does not confirm that all the Medicare levy is actually all spent on healthcare.

Err, OK, how about we try another tack and look at the actual numbers.

In 2010-11 the Commonwealth collected $8330 million from the Medicare levy and spent $57 240 million on health. You’ll notice that for every dollar the Commonwealth gets from the Medicare levy they spend $6.87 on health. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme alone cost $10 337 million and we are ignoring here that the states and territories also contribute to the cost of running hospitals.

steveu 7:41 am 26 Jan 12

I think the AMA playing argy-bargy with the government does have an impact on service delivery IMHO. They are one of the most influential lobby groups in the country, and Im pretty sure people who work at Dept. Health and also Medicare may be able to comment further. Sorry, its the cynic in me but I do think we are being played at times.
All that being said, I have the opinion that there are alot of people at that hospital who try their best to offer the best care.
Having to service NSW as well (despite the fact we eventually get out billing right and get some money back off them) doesnt help service levels either I would think.

whitelaughter 2:13 am 26 Jan 12

gooterz said :

My question is, why do people on pension or newstart have kids if they can’t afford them?

If you lose your job/become seriously ill/have major accident, trying to send the kid back were it came from/sell it for parts does not end well…

thatsnotme 12:50 am 26 Jan 12

I guess if there’s anything positive to come out of this, it’s that you’re $178 closer to reaching the Medicare Safety Net threshold, after which you can look forward to 80% of your medical bills back!

Jethro 12:25 am 26 Jan 12

Oh..

/end sarcasm

Jethro 12:24 am 26 Jan 12

Brianna said :

Some very interesting comments. Don’t get injured? Yeah, right. :o) I am thankful for the expertise made available to me by my doctor. The reason I posted was to point out WHY the accident and emergency rooms are often so crowded and over used. The government keeps complaining that people could have gone to their doctors for the minor problems that are clogging the emergency rooms. My point is that people on low incomes can’t afford the doctors.

And neither should they.

Poor people don’t deserve healthcare. Survival of the fittest and whatnot.

gooterz 11:33 pm 25 Jan 12

So it cost you $178

“How on earth do people on the pension or Newstart afford bills like this?”

My question is, why do people on pension or newstart have kids if they can’t afford them?

Brianna 11:01 pm 25 Jan 12

Some very interesting comments. Don’t get injured? Yeah, right. :o) I am thankful for the expertise made available to me by my doctor. The reason I posted was to point out WHY the accident and emergency rooms are often so crowded and over used. The government keeps complaining that people could have gone to their doctors for the minor problems that are clogging the emergency rooms. My point is that people on low incomes can’t afford the doctors.

vg 8:40 pm 25 Jan 12

Don’t get injured

Problem solved

IrishPete 8:24 pm 25 Jan 12

I’m 45 and recently asked a GP about a general check-up, not having had one for a while. He told me there’s a comprehensive check-up – 90 minutes of nurse time then a doctor – which is completely government-funded. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/3187C9D8567E611CCA2572F1007F0175/$File/Fact%20Sheet.pdf

Great. But what surprises me is that nobody in the gubbernment told me. They could easily write to me through Medicare who have all my details.

IP

Leinna 7:08 pm 25 Jan 12

A few points:
* If your toilet is blocked, or you have a leaking pipe, etc… you need to call out a plumber as an emergency. Good luck get a bulk billing plumber.
* Medicare rebate for doctors has not increased with inflation since it was introduced (of course if it had then the government would probably not be able to afford it)
* Presenting to the accident and emergency department with a genuine accident is appropriate.
* GPs have to do 6 years (at least) of university education, followed by 2 years of hospital practice (at least), followed by 3-4 years of training in a GP practice. So at least 11 years of specialist training. As you said, you couldn’t do it yourself.

nhand42 6:25 pm 25 Jan 12

deejay said :

And higher taxes to pay for it. Historically, I’ve been quite philosophical about being taxed higher than virtually everywhere in the world,

Australia is one of the lowest taxed of the industrialised countries. From memory, we rank somewhere around the 20th position. If you want lower taxes, go live in a third world slum where you can keep 100% of the pittance you make each week.

I would gladly pay more taxes to see an improvement in Medicare. It’s already good but it can still be better. More preventative medicine. More proactive healthcare. Get the fatties losing weight, before heart disease and diabetes bankrupts the next generation.

charliemack 6:03 pm 25 Jan 12

Depends on the age of the patient. They won’t look at anyone under 2. I think the Medical Centre in Colbee Court Phillip bulk bills patients under a certain age and/or if they have a pension card. anyone else you pay a discounted rate of $40 certainly much cheaper then the standard $70+ consultation charge.

Perhaps you may be charged $70…. have you thought about the rebate you get trhough Medicare which can be processed electronically at some practices… this is currently ~ $35.60, thereby leaving you out of pocket less than what you would be at Phillip Medical Centre…

Just saying…

liability 4:35 pm 25 Jan 12

In relation to bulk billing – I recently was in Goulburn working for a week and had to see a doctor. There are several practices in Goulburn that bulk bill, for all their patients. Was quite surprised.

dungfungus 3:56 pm 25 Jan 12

NoImRight said :

dpm said :

Tetranitrate said :

dpm said :

Try living in another country. By global standards, Aus has pretty damn good public (i.e free/subsidised) health care…..

“it’s worse in the third world or the USA(third world) so shut up and stop expecting any better”
I’m so sick of this rubbish.

We’re at best middle of the range when compared to other developed countries and the state of some areas of health (eg Dental) is pretty bad compared to the more well developed and comprehensive healthcare systems that exist in European countries.

It wouldn’t be a that difficult to significantly improve medicare for any government that actually had the political courage do it and tread on the toes that’d need to be trodden on, same as with every other issue (dutch disease, housing, ect ect) facing Australia at the moment.

Hey, i’m just pointing out it’s the age-old battle of left versus right, regarding what health care we ‘expect’ the Govt to give us for our taxes.

Speaking of the other housing affordability thread, pehaps we can link it to this one with this comment from a RBA boss:
“The Deputy Governor of the RBA notes the following in relation to Australia’s house price to income ratio:
‘There are a couple of reasons why Australian households seem to be able to sustain a higher ratio of house prices to incomes. First, Australians seem to spend less of their income on non-housing consumption than is the case for US households, with a significant part of this difference explained by lower health costs in Australia. Australian households therefore have greater capacity to service housing loans.’
Additionally, according to this:
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Fund-Reports/2010/Jun/Mirror-Mirror-Update.aspx
we rank fairly well (3rd) at healthcare but are crap at access to it (as mentioned in this post)!

So, it’s all a bit confusing. If I was being a sh$t stirrer, perhaps I could say that maybe access to public healthcare is so clogged up in Aus as heaps of people (who could afford it, as the nice OP did) want it for free – so they can get their big loan and have their big house! 😉 Hahahaha!

Response of the week. Well played Sir 😉

I only go to A&E when there are no private practices open (weekends and middle of the night). I have full private cover as well as paying my Medicare levy and I would be happy to pay for treatment but you can’t get ANY treatment there unless you are bleeding to death on the floor or you are a drunk bogan who has just had the crap kicked out of you. Who would want to go near the place if there was somewhere else to go?

pink little birdie 3:09 pm 25 Jan 12

p1 said :

I’m amazed that you managed to get into your GP that quick!

Really?
Our GP does emergency appointments for accidents like this… but then they bulk bill if you ask and block out sections of the day for on the day appointments so you can see someone at the practice on the day if you are sick.

p1 2:59 pm 25 Jan 12

I’m amazed that you managed to get into your GP that quick!

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