- Darren.Chester.MP@aph.gov.au; Jim.Tapp@aph.gov.au; warren.snowdon.MP@aph.gov.au;david.johnston.MP@au
ABOUT 80,000 military personnel will receive lower standards of care, delays in treatment and won't be able to choose their preferred doctor under sweeping changes to defence health care.
Medicos have warned wounded troops could be forced to take out private insurance to avoid the impact of the contracts those who treat soldiers, sailors and air force staff are being forced to sign.
Surgeons and other specialists will be hit by a "not negotiable" 40 to 50 per cent drop in fees to treat military personnel at bases around Australia under government-imposed budget cuts.
The new military fees are well below Australian Medical Association rates.
All personnel, including those wounded in action or hurt on base or at home, are covered for full medical and dental care.
The latest assault on military entitlements, part of a $154 million 10-year budget cut to defence health services, follows an aborted attempt by top brass to remove family reunion travel from members over the age of 21.
Specialists are refusing to sign so-called garrison health services contracts with Medibank Health Solutions after the government-owned firm won a new $1.3 billion four-year contract in June.
"I urge the decision makers to look at the potentially destructive effect these contract changes will have on morale by limiting access to quality medical care for injuries they suffer in the service of their country," one orthopaedic surgeon said.
Society of Orthopaedic Surgeons national co-ordinator Stephen Milgate said members were very concerned about the trend towards US-style managed healthcare and many senior surgeons would refuse to sign the contract.
MHS spokesman Dr Ian Boyd said: "Our goal is to provide the best healthcare options for every eligible ADF member, but we also have to be responsible and cost-effective with the program's delivery."
"They either take a lower fee or they don't get the work," Mr Brown said.
A top orthopaedic surgeon, who asked not to be named, said he would not sign despite working with the military for the past 11 years.
"Cheapest price is unlikely to provide best practice outcomes for the personnel that should be valued by Defence," the surgeon said.
Opposition defence spokesman David Johnston said he was concerned that Defence Budget cuts were impacting directly upon the men and women in service.
"These are the very people we ask to put their bodies and lives on the line to defend our country and yet the Gillard government is resorting to a cut price solution to their medical care," Senator Johnston said
"We, the undersigned, call on the Labor Government to withdraw any sweeping changes to Australian Defence Force Military Health Cuts."
The KEEP FULL MILITARY HEALTH FOR THE ADF petition to Darren.Chester.MP@aph.gov.au; Jim.Tapp@aph.gov.au; warren.snowdon.MP@aph.gov.au;david.johnston.MP@au was written by Marc Newton and is in the category Government at GoPetition.