Ex-RAAF infantryman takes up fight against vet health cuts
"WHEN you join up, it's this really nice sales pitch, it's the best thing you could ever sign up for - we are going to look after you forever."
Former RAAF infantryman Ian Fraser said despite the sentiment, he'll have to fight harder and do more for allied healthcare appointments under new legislation where veterans with health issues will have to see their GP every 12 specialist sessions to continue treatment.
READ THE ORIGINAL STORY: Change to way veterans access health care labelled a burden
The Veteran Treatment Cycle initiative follows the Productivity Commission's report on Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans.
Many veterans, like Mr Fraser, rack up 12 sessions in a matter of weeks, meaning more bureaucracy, red tape, and even more visits to their GP and specialists to fulfil obligations for care.
"The main effect for me is my exercise physiologist and my psychologist, and to some extent my physiotherapist," Mr Fraser said.
"It affects the people that are on White Cards, these are people that have conditions that are injury specific conditions, they're not covered by the Gold Card provision.
"A lot of veterans don't want to look at paperwork. The biggest problem here is if it stops one veteran going (to the allied health care), that's one veteran too many.
"It took my wife and my friends and my family 40 years to get me to go and see a health professional.
"The issue is if you can use an excuse to not go to see someone because of the paperwork and bureaucracy, you won't do it and you will continue on with this problem that you're not getting addressed."
Mr Fraser said the Government was failing to look at the middle level; allied health outlets that are over servicing and taking advantage of the system, so instead the government is pushing the legwork onto veterans and their GPs.
"They're putting pressure on the GP... they're saying you've been going to the physio for 12 months and it's not working, you need to go to another provider or you need to stop the plan because you're really not achieving anything," he said.
Blair MP and Shadow Minister for the Department of Veterans Affairs Shayne Neumann slammed the decision and has urged local veterans to write to the Minister.
"This is not a good outcome for thousands of local veterans, if the Government was serious about healthcare for veterans they need to back up their rhetoric with proper funding, access to service and reverse these savage cuts," he said.