Home' The Bunyip : January 11th 2017 Contents Page 12 "THE BUNYIP" GAWLER, Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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Safety tick for expressway
THE Northern Expressway, from
Waterloo Corner to Gawler,
was rated one of safest highway
sections in the state, a recent road
The RAA's Australian
Road Assessment Program
(AusRAP) highway audit --
which evaluates the safety
of national highways, based
on casualty crash data -- listed
the section of local highway
among the state's best roads,
despite finding 65 per cent
of South Australia's national
highways were below standard,
leading to "deaths and serious
Among the worst stretches of
roads were the South Eastern
Freeway in the Adelaide Hills and
Sturt Highway in the Riverland.
Charles Mountain, RAA's senior
manager road safety, said the
findings again highlighted the need
for safety improvements to the
"Any risk rating medium or higher
is below standard and needs to
be addressed," Mr Mountain
"Unfortunately, that includes the
majority of our state's highways.
"Inadequate road infrastructure
needs to be upgraded to protect
motorists. This could result in
substantial reductions in crash
"With the right investment, even
the worst stretches of road can be
made significantly safer."
After-hours cuts to hurt
PLANS to axe the Medicare
rebate for after-hours doctor
home visits could inundate
local hospital emergency
departments with thousands of
extra patients, a peak industry
body group says.
A dramatic increase in after-hours
visits over recent years has caused
a $2.8 million Medicare cost
blowout, prompting the Turnbull
Government to consider cutting the
rebate under the current Medicare
Benefit Schedule review.
The move is tipped to impact
around 43,800 people in the federal
electorate of Wakefield, who have
used the National Home Doctor
Service in the past financial year.
National Home Doctor Service
chief medical officer Dr Umberto
Russo said removing the rebate
would cost the health system
more, with already overburdened
emergency departments potentially
forced to deal with more patients.
"If home visits weren't available,
more families would go to
emergency departments for health
problems that are not emergencies
but cannot wait for treatment until
business hours," Dr Russo said.
"The cost to the health system
of a doctor home visit is $128,
while the cost to the health system
of a patient being treated in an
emergency department is $368, on
average, and much more when an
ambulance is called.
"A report by Deloitte Access
Economics found that, without
access to after-hours doctor home
visits to households and aged-care
facilities, the cost to the health
system would be $724 million
higher of the four years of the
budget forward estimates.
Dr Russo said more than a third of
home visit patients in Wakefield
were children under 15 years of
age, with doctor home visits being
an essential Medicare service for
the most vulnerable people in local
"Children and elderly family
members can fall sick at any time
of the day or night -- not just in
business hours when GP clinics are
open," he said.
"For regional communities,
like many in the electorate of
Wakefield, getting health services
when you need it is hard enough,
but any cuts to this service will
make things even harder."
Health Minister Sussan Ley did not
respond to The Bunyip's request
for comment before deadline.
needs to be upgraded to
protect motorists. This
could result in substantial
reductions in crash rates.
- CHARLES MOUNTAIN
If home visits
more families would go to
for health problems.
- UMBERTO RUSSO
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