Staff will no longer have access to bulk billing services at the University of Sydney Health Service after a compulsory GP consultation fee was introduced last week.
Without bulk billing services, staff will now have to pay the total fee of the consultation upfront, being a fee ranging from $20-40 for a GP consultation and a fee of up to $63.50 for a consultation with a clinical psychologist.
There was some confusion regarding the university’s decision with a number of staff and students raising concerns in the belief that student bulk billing services would also be withdrawn.
This withdrawal will mean that staff members unwilling or unable to pay upfront doctors fees will be required to travel off campus to access bulk billing medical services.
The University has confirmed that the withdrawal of the service was introduced “after extensive consultation and discussion including a review of other general practices in the inner Sydney area.”
A spokesperson also noted, “most university health services now charge fees.”
Associate professor of the University Health Service Ian Marshall assured Honi last week that students would not be affected by this withdrawal if they still hold a Medicare card or have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) but he gave no mention of bulk billing withdrawal for staff members.
The NTEU released a statement last week condemning the University’s decision.
“We, the undersigned, call on the university to reverse the decision immediately.”
In their statement they suggested that the university has documented its concern for the wellbeing of staff in the past, noting “the practice is important in supporting the ongoing health and wellbeing of all staff and students.”
“The university should continue to facilitate staff access to healthcare and keep the UHS as a bulk-billing practice,” they said.