Opposition attacks health cuts

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott's health cuts are putting critical pressure on western Sydney's struggling health system, says Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King.

Reports last week that 26,000 patients had to seek medical treatment outside their area due to poor access to services will only be worsened by Mr Abbott's health cuts.

The federal government has cut more than $203 million from NSW public hospitals, including $6 million for an MRI licence at Mount Druitt.

Ms King and federal Chifley MP Ed Husic were at Mount Druitt last year to hear about the impact it has had on patients.

"Patients in western Sydney are already struggling to get the services they need," she said.

"An end to bulk-billing, a tax on doctor visits and a hospital tax will cripple health services in western Sydney. It's time the NSW government stood up to Tony Abbott's health cuts and publicly opposed plans to introduce a hospital tax."

Mr Husic added: "Over 4000 local residents signed a petition for an MRI licence for Mt Druitt Hospital. One of Tony Abbott's first acts as Prime Minister was to cut this funding and deny patients in Mt Druitt the health services they deserve.

"By taking our vital equipment and shutting down wards, the federal and state Liberal governments are simply hollowing out Mount Druitt Hospital. They're downgrading the hospital and Mount Druitt doesn't deserve a second-class health system."

In 2011-12 only 72 per cent of patients in western Sydney were treated at a local hospital.

Ms King said Labor addressed this while in government by promising nearly $120 million investments in western Sydney health infrastructure, including an MRI at Mount Druitt Hospital.

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