Taking care of business
The AMA has congratulated Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition on winning the election and earning a third term in Government.
It is now time to get stuck into the unfinished business of health reform – the Government’s ongoing agenda plus the issues raised by the AMA during the election campaign.
The AMA stands ready to work with the Government to strengthen the Australian health system and set it up to meet the needs of our growing and ageing population. It cannot stand still.
The Government made it clear in the Budget that primary care and general practice will be a priority going forward, and we welcome that.
Primary health care, especially general practice, must be at the top of the list of the health policy agenda.
General practice is at the heart of the health system. It is the glue that holds everything together. It is the lifeblood that keeps people moving and healthy through the system.
GPs help people navigate their way to the right care for them at the right time. GPs are with their patients throughout life. They need to be supported in this vital role.
General practice is the most cost-effective sector of the health system. General practice keeps patients away from more expensive hospital care. General practice stays with patients as they enter aged care. GPs are trusted. General practice delivers.
The Government recognised this with its Budget announcements on primary care. It must build on this commitment in this third term.
On top of this, the private health insurance reforms need to be bedded down, as is ensuring the symbiotic balance between the public hospitals and the private health system is appropriately supported. It is this co-dependence that will assist access to quality health care for all Australians.
The outcomes of the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) Review need further consultation with the medical profession.
The policy priorities highlighted in the AMA’s Key Health Issues document for the election remain our policy priorities.
Major challenges for the Government include public hospital funding, Indigenous health, mental health, aged care, and prevention.
All parts of the health system are linked. The Government cannot and must not focus on a few and neglect others. The whole health system needs nurturing.
We look forward to working closely with the Government on its health agenda for the next three years.
The AMA hopes that Prime Minister Scott Morrison keeps Greg Hunt as Health Minister and Ken Wyatt as Indigenous Health Minister. They are fully across their complex portfolios and the AMA has strong links with their offices and departments.
Published: 20 May 2019