7 January, 2016 17:30
INGRID DOULTON | Women’s Topics | CONTACT
As part of the Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), the Turnbull Government will remove bulk billing incentives for pathology services.
This means women who need their pap smear will now be required to pay for a doctor to put foreign objects inside them to scrape their cervix, once the federal government’s cuts to bulk-billing incentive payments kick in this July.
Papanicolaou test, also known as the Pap test, is a method of cervical screening used to detect potentially dangerous processes in the cervix – a procedure that has in the past been covered by medicare.
Bulk billing incentives for MRI services will be reduced from 15 to 10 per cent of the Medicare Benefits Schedule fee. Concession card holders and children under 16 years old will be exempt, with the move predicted to save $650.4 million over four years.
But health advocates are worried about the impact this will have on both Australian women and the quality of service offered by doctors.
Brenda Dix, a spokesperson for We The Females (WTF), an organisation that campaigns for the rights of Australian women to access free women-specific healthcare, has spoken on the matter.
“Our biggest concern is that these extra costs will result in Australian women being even more reckless when it comes to their Pap smears,”
“It’s hard enough to communicate how important these check ups are to young women around the country as it is, imagine if they had to pay for it!”
Another issue that concerns Ms Dix is the fact that the standard of women’s healthcare may drop under a Government that has already shown they would rather purchase outdated fighter jets than help combat preventable cancer in women.
“Currently, it is estimated that the speculum (medical instrument used in pap smears) enters the Australian female vagina at around 5° celsius during a Pap smear,”
“…and that’s not taking into account the colder Southern Australian states,”
” If the Turnbull government continues it’s assault on the standard of women’s health, we can only expect these temperatures to drop to negative numbers,”
Advocates say they are terrified that Australia’s GP’s will have to make cuts the central heating systems for offices, resulting in steel instruments to becoming unbearable cold when pushed inside a hesitant female patients vagina,”
“Imagine if the doctors had to start wearing woolen jumpers to work, that could even result in static zaps… Fuck that!”
“And they wonder why our young women aren’t on top of this stuff. How would you like to get your dick frozen and electrocuted at the same time, and have to pay for it!”