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GP fee will add to an already-large bill for Bay family

Susan Abel says her family is among those impacted by $7 co-payment fee for GP visits.
Susan Abel says her family is among those impacted by $7 co-payment fee for GP visits. Valerie Horton

IT WON'T deter her from going to the doctor, but a $7 co-payment for GP visits confirmed in the 2014-15 federal budget will add to the already-large bill Hervey Bay's Susan Abel and her family spend on medical care each year.

Ms Abel spends more than $5000 on doctor's visits and medication each year for her son who has a disability, and her family is among those on the Fraser Coast who will be slugged the $7 fee for services that were bulk-billed.

A total $5 of the fee will go towards a medical research fund.

While it might make her think twice, Mrs Abel said she was fortunate that she would not have to choose between paying the fee or not seeing a GP.

She said not everyone on the Fraser Coast would be in the same position and predicted a marked impact on the Fraser Coast's two hospitals as people may choose to go to the emergency department rather than their GP.

Mrs Abel said the rise in the retirement eligibility age to 70 might also have a negative impact on the Fraser Coast.

She said friends and family had been sharing concerns for blue collar workers on social media site Facebook, but the planned raise could be a good idea for office workers.

Hervey Bay GP Shaun Rudd said the relationship between a doctor and patient was both medical and financial.

"The two go hand in hand," he said.

"It's between me and the patient, the decision (to charge).

"There shouldn't be a third party interfering."

Topics:  family, federal budget, fee, gp, hervey bay



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