Some already avoid doctor

Money woes: Inspire Community services staff member Louise Ioane meeting with clients at the organisation's Sadleir office to help them to manage their finances. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Money woes: Inspire Community services staff member Louise Ioane meeting with clients at the organisation's Sadleir office to help them to manage their finances. Picture: Gene Ramirez

A LOCAL community worker says some of her clients already can't afford to go to a doctor, without a $7 payment to do so.

Inspire Community Services practical welfare manager Lorraine Hynes said there were a lot of local sick people who avoided going to the doctor, even without the Medicare co-payment to be introduced in the 2014-15 federal budget.

"They don't have the $3 they will have to pay for the subsidised medication and can't afford the petrol money to get there or the transport costs," Mrs Hynes said.

"The cost of living is so high, a lot of people are already struggling to cope and these budget measures will just make it worse for them."

She was worried some of her clients would turn to drink and drugs to cope with their financial woes.

"That's just a cycle that many of them struggle to get out of, things keep getting tougher and tougher for them and what little motivation they have to keep going deteriorates.

"Depression in this area is on the rise because the costs just keep mounting and we've had a big increase in the number of people coming to us recently."

Mrs Hynes said some of the clients that come to Inspire Community Services — an organisation which helps families with food packages and financial assistance to pay the bills — are often used to going without a meal.

"And not everyone that comes to us is unemployed, many are working, but they are on such low wages that they struggle to survive.

"For these people, the increase in petrol prices will also be particularly damaging and will mean that they will have to make savings elsewhere.

"Others just get used to relying on hand-outs because that's all they've ever done."

She said for some people, the extra pressure from the budget measures, particularly planned cuts to welfare payments, might motivate them.

"The stronger ones may realise that there's no point relying on the government and they need to do something for themselves."

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