28 July 2020

Labor calls on Greg Hunt to urgently reconsider changes which would make it harder for Australians to access electrocardiograms (ECGs)after this Saturday.

It beggars belief that the Government is cutting health care subsidies during a global health emergency.

Cardiovascular disease is Australias biggest killer, causing 27 per cent of deaths in Australia. The Government should be making it easier for Australians to check their heart health, not harder.

ECGs measure the electrical activity generated by the heart in order to detect heart problems.

The imminent changes taken from the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review will mean GPs will no longer receive a rebate for interpreting the tests, significantly impacting those in regional and rural Australia who dont have easy access to see specialists.

Already cardiovascular disease hospitalisation is 30 per cent higher for those living in remote and very remote areas than in major cities.

Experts including the Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and Rural Doctors Association of Australia have made clear that these ECG changes will hurt GPs and their patients.

GPs are qualified to interpret ECG tests, they should endorsed for doing so, not defunded.

That there are alternative mechanisms to address any safety concerns or assertions that ECG services have been overused.

Labor has written to Greg Hunt to ask him to repeal these changes, and calls on him to do sobefore Saturday.