Bulk-billing loss may add to ED burden

“We are concerned about the impact,” a spokesman for Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told MO. “We already have unacceptably numbers of people at EDs who should be at the doctor.

“Our EDs already have up to 50% of patients who should be at the GP, not the hospital — the average across the state is 30% — so we are already carrying the burden.”

If necessary, the state would run TV ads encouraging people to avoid hospital EDs unless they needed emergency attention.

Earlier, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said the original $7 co-payment plan would be a “big deal” for cost-of-living pressures.

In Victoria, where the ALP took power on 29 November, newly appointed Health Minister Jill Hennessy criticised the policy as a blow to families, saying Prime Minister Tony Abbott was now forcing doctors to act as tax collectors.

“This version of the GP tax