Bulk-billing need grows
A LACK of bulk-billing doctors in Gympie means Gloria O'Brien cannot afford to see a GP.
Barely making ends meet on her widow's allowance, Ms O'Brien says there is nothing left over.
"I only get $486 a fortnight. There's nothing left. I haven't got it," she said.
"I just don't know how people do it."
She wants Gympie surgeries to offer bulk-billing.
Out of her allowance, Ms O'Brien pays the utilities and living expenses and, like last week when The Gympie Times saw her, had $11 left to last the few days until payday.
She sees a doctor regularly for painkillersand antidepressant prescriptions.
"There's doctors all over the place and not one bulk-bills," she said.
"I had a doctor that was bulk-billing but I was told next time it would be $50."
To make things worse, Ms O'Brien does not drive and gets around town on a mobility scooter.
Once a fortnight, she pays $7 to catch a cab to do her grocery shopping - but if she had to pay for doctors' appointments there would be no money to pay for the cab and she would have to "go without".
"It's so crazy; there's so many doctors around, three on Channon St, one in Henry St and Reef St and none of them will bulk-bill," she said.
Ms O'Brien moved to Channon St four years ago after her husband passed away.
"It's just been one thing after another since my husband died."
Ms O'Brien has lymphoma in her leg and is still going to oncology.
She also has scoliosis of the top of her spine and worn-out discs at the bottom, but because she was rejected for a disability pension she can't get discounted medical care.
If Ms O'Brien was on a pension the story would be different, as there are a few doctors who bulk-bill in that circumstance, but without the pension status she is on her own.
"It's been a battle and still is a battle," she said.
In the past month she's been to a GP three times and this week will head to the hospital for an endoscopy - that will be bulk-billed.