Slow erosion of public health

Dr Perlen made the comments after the East Metro Medicare Local report released earlier this month revealed the eastern suburbs were serviced by fewer health care professionals than the western suburbs despite having greater health care needs.

She said the dietician service and free public physiotherapy offered from Lockridge Medical Centre had been removed with services offered only in Midland.

‘Diabetes education is also being cut back to the more severe cases that are really out of control rather than us being able to send people that have just been diagnosed to prevent them from getting more severe, we’re now being told the service is being restricted,’ Dr Perlen said.

‘What’s happened with all of these services is there’s been cost shifting from what were previously public/ state health department services on to Medicare, which is federal, and we’re told that our patients can now access these services by being on a GP management plan and referred to allied health services through that.’

She said anyone with chronic disease was eligible for the plan and if they required help from at least two health providers they also qualified for a team care arrangement, which gives them access to five allied health visits per year.

Dr Perlen said the five allied health visits were not a lot and didn’t replace what was once offered.

‘There should not be a reduction of allied health service access to our patients,’ she said.

‘People who don’t have access to private services need to have access to adequate and timely allied health services and mental health services ” that’s where we really see the biggest gaps for our patients.’