Thursday, 25 August 2016

The people's inquiry into privatisation of services - submissions needed

Public Services International

Public Services International, who are affiliated with public sector unions in Australia, have launched an Australian inquiry into the effects of privatisation on public services in Australia. They want to hear from all affected by said privatisation; ie, how has it affected you or your community?

Submissions close Sept 9th 2016. You can make a submission here. I will be making one about the Abbott/Turnbull gov attacks on Medicare, how it affect me in a financial hardship position, and how gov savings to shift payments for Medicare services into the private sector via co-payments will have an effect on the future spread of HIV. 
Australians have always been proud of our public institutions - Medicare, the ABC, our hospitals and schools. But our public services are threatened by politicians who want to privatise them so companies can run them for profit.

The Turnbull Government has directed the Productivity Commission to conduct an inquiry into how to further privatise our public services, without looking at whether handing over control of our services to corporations is in the best interests of all Australians.

But we think communities should have a say over how our services are run, and for whose benefit.

That's why we've initiated the People's Inquiry into Privatisation. We want to start a national conversation about the impacts of privatisation, and talk directly with communities about the services they need.

We want to hear from you! People's Inquiry into Privatisation  


Update: My submission:

I have had HIV since 2008. I was diagnosed in early 2009 after having a particularly hard sero-conversion. I attended the publicly funded and free Albion St Centre for the HIV test and diagnosis as I felt my local GP was out of her depth with it.

After starting HIV meds I had an allergic reaction to Truvada and Naprosyn causing complete kidney failure in a matter of days. My kidney specialist at Prince of Wales hospital told me upon discharge that I was about 48 hours from death when I arrived at the Prince of Wales Emergency. If not for the co-ordination between Albion St Clinic and Prince of Wales hospital I'd very likely be dead. The kidney failure was picked up by chance in my three monthly blood tests in having HIV, which were of course free and done at the Albion St Centre.

You can find my experiences of that time on my blog:

Since that time it has been a long recovery back to something like a life. I'm now classified as chronically ill, with kidney functions monitored regularly along with HIV levels, and everything else they do. I take 13 tablets a day for both mental and physical health. I struggle with suicidal thoughts at times. I survive on the DSP paying private rent, having to draw money out of my super under financial hardship legislation ($10,000yr) to get by.

I rely completely on bulk billing for my medical needs. I rely completely on free blood tests and free HIV doctor visits for my regular health preventative checks. There are times I go to the doctor without a cent, as I often go for days on end with no money at all.

Currently I'm having trouble with my eyes, the left one I think a cataract. My doctor sent me to a bulk billing optometrist but when I got there they said I had to pay a $30 "imaging fee". This because the gov is shifting costs from the gov to the private sector, the private sector passing that cost on to me, a pensioner.

I couldn't pay it. I tried to but couldn't get the money together. This financial year I'll get about a bit under $17,000 for the partnered DSP and my share of the rent out of that is about $10,000. It's just impossible that I would be expected to pay anything.

The wider concern is of course the threats of a co-payment to blood tests (I need at least 4 a year as a default, but often more) and the threats of a co-payment to see my doctor. Luckily my doctor has been seeing me for years and the centre understands people in my situation. For those working they charge more to subsidise those of us who simply can't pay.

However my concern is for many medical centres around Australia that of June this year are stopping bulk billing for everyone, including pensioners. Can you imagine me having to pay to see a doctor and for a blood test? Impossible as it is I'd likely just not go having no choice about it.

The bigger concern is for those in the community with HIV. The strategy to end this bloody virus is to get tested regularly, if positive get on treatment straight away and become "undetectable" re HIV virus levels, and maintain good health, making it just about impossible to pass it on.

Many of those who have HIV don't know they have it. They go around infecting people without knowing it. What will happen to HIV infection rates  if these people have to start paying to see a doctor and get a blood test?

All the encouragement is presently aimed at ending HIV in Australia by 2020. The privatisation of services which shifts costs away from gov into the private sector, businesses, and patients is diametrically opposed to the fight against HIV.

Thank you for your time,