The campaign to reinstate vital funding for the Royal Flying Doctor Service took a step forward this week with Senator Barry O’Sullivan hammering home some realities in the national capital.
The cuts were made based on the belief that State Governments would manage the shortfall but this has not and is unlikely to now happen.
The RFDS says the cuts, although absorbed this financial year, will result in a cut to service delivery in future years…and health initiatives would have to be cut.
Senator O’Sullivan says the cuts are not on.
“The RFDS runs 16,000-odd clinics in the bush, which are the only opportunity many people have to access medical help in those parts. I’m angry with my own government and I’ll persist until I get it restored.”
The funding reduction means a loss of $2.6m to the Queensland section.
The Senator is pushing to restore the $11m funding shortfall and wants a permanent government guarantee for the $6m it made available for two years to cover RFDS dental clinics.
“In the last financial year, the clinic treated 8000 people across 21 communities, from Camooweal to Cherbourg.”
He says he will be progressively lifting his campaign for $17m in additional funds to be provided to RFDS in the next budget.
“The bush has been hurting for the past five or six years and any further reductions, particularly in life-giving health care, is unacceptable. How can they justify something like this, where people are so far behind the eight-ball anyway?”