Why Pathology Is Important For Your Healthcare
Pathology is an integral part of healthcare. Removing the bulk billing incentive for pathology will create a barrier to tests used to prevent illness, detect diseases early, and for good management of chronic health conditions.
Pathology is vital for
Preventing health problems
Some tests are important to help people understand if they are at risk of developing a serious health problem. For example, a blood test for cholesterol levels to find out if someone has high cholesterol, which can contribute to a heart attack or stroke. Test results tell a doctor if their patient needs to take medication or adjust their diet and lifestyle to lower cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Cuts to pathology bulk billing will make it harder for people to get tested and will increase their risk of getting sick.
Early detection of diseases
Catching health problems early gives doctors the best chance to treat you successfully. For example, pap smears are used to show any abnormalities in a woman’s cervix. These tests are performed routinely on women who do not have symptoms and therefore can pick up cervical cancer in the earliest stages. When treated early, treatment is often less radical and survival rates are much higher.
Cuts to pathology bulk billing may mean fewer people are tested, and life-threatening health issues are not caught in time.
Managing serious health conditions
People with serious, ongoing health conditions need pathology testing to monitor the progress of their disease and how their body is responding to treatment. For example, people with diabetes require regular blood tests to help them measure if their diabetes is under control. This is important to keep them out of the hospital and prevent further damage to their bodies.
Cuts to pathology bulk billing target those who are already sick and are most in need of good healthcare.
Keeping you out of hospital
As pathology is essential for the prevention, early detection, and management of health conditions, it is a vital tool to help doctors treat patients in the community.
If people are forced to pay or to travel further for tests, they may wait until they are sicker before seeing a doctor, ending up in hospital as a result.
Patients who cannot afford to pay for pathology testing could also be driven into hospital emergency departments to access tests.
Cuts to pathology bulk billing could burden the health system and cause further crowding of emergency departments.