MORE?than $ 20 million has been cut from preventative health activities, patient transport and accommodation for rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people in need of specialist care, according to the chief executive officer of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), Selwyn Button.
About $1 million in programs supporting preventative health activities no longer exists, Mr Button said.
“What we see is an attempt to curb spending and save money by cutting crucial programs, which will place significant demand on community controlled services as the government reduces its funding commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.”
The Newman Government had ignored previous commitments to other National Partnerships Agreements for health-related activities, he said.
“They have also disregarded one of the most important elements to support closing the life expectancy gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: the Indigenous Health National Partnership Agreement.”
Mr Button said the budget cuts would have an impact on Mount Isa.
“Cuts of $20 million to support patient transport, accommodation and care accessing specialist services at tertiary facilities across the state will have a major impact on the community of Mount Isa and across the lower gulf region, as patients are presently required to travel to Townsville for tertiary services.
“What should be considered is how we can make it easier for Aboriginal people having to travel long distances for specialist services to get access to the required support closer to home with necessary support structures and ongoing care built around them, not taking them away from their support into a foreign environment.”
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