SVP notes the announcement that the medical expert panel set up to examine what conditions should be used to decide eligibility for a medical card has said that it neither 'feasible or desirable to list medical conditions' in this context.
In our recent submission to Government on this issue the SVP stated that full medical cards should be made available for the cohort of children and adults whose life journey includes the development of a life threatening medical condition. We also asked that all households where people have chronic diseases, life limiting and life threatening conditions, disabilities and those on low incomes, with larger families and the unemployed, be granted timely access to all health and social services.
The SVP realises that resources are finite for scarce health expenditure. We also, however, understand the trauma and distress of people in medical need trying to get or keep a medical card on grounds of medical need. We know that despite the introduction of 12 Medical Officers in 2013 to help in the assessment of discretionary medical cards where there was a medical need, it continues to be difficult for those with life threatening and long-term illnesses to get a discretionary medical card. Government assertions that there have been no changes to the eligibility criteria for granting medical cards for those in medical need have been met with public distrust as the figures clearly shows that the numbers granted cards have been reducing in recent years.
We do not differentiate between the many chronic diseases, life limiting and life threatening conditions that people endure. We want a seamless single tier health system, which is easy to navigate service for all groups regardless of their health status and income, free from the conditionality, which currently hinders access by various vulnerable groups to the health supports they need. SVP is very supportive of any health reform, which increases efficiencies, transparency and equity.
We agree with the Adelaide Hospital Society that 'healthcare is fundamentally about human beings caring for other human beings'
We believe that the ethical values of equity and fairness, using evidence based information, should inform the decisions to be made regarding changes in eligibility for medical cards
Our core interest is in improving health outcomes, morbidity and mortality rates for those who suffer the most from a lack of timely access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment.