AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, today congratulated Prime Minister Julia Gillard on securing a minority Labor Government and urged her to put the health reform process at the top of her second term agenda.
Dr Pesce said that the health system and the health workforce remain under enormous pressure and in great need of the new funding and resources from the COAG Agreement and recent election promises.
“The AMA will be seeking meetings with the Prime Minister and the Health Minister at the earliest opportunity to ensure that the momentum and commitment for health reform continues under the new Government,” Dr Pesce said.
“We will also be talking to the Opposition, the Greens and the independents to build unity across parties for positive health reform. It is important that all politicians engage with the medical profession in formulating and implementing health policy.
“We will be talking to the Government about greater investment in hospital beds, local clinician involvement in hospital decision making, more support for general practice, the need to move to a single funder of the health system, and we will be urging the Government to reconsider its plan for care for people with diabetes.
“While we have supported the broad direction of the health reform process and will continue to do so, we will seek changes to policies that we do not believe are in the best interests of patients, communities or the medical profession.
“The AMA has campaigned strongly for a greater focus on rural health and Indigenous health and it looks like this will occur as a result of the make-up of the new Government through the key role of the rural independents.
“We also welcome the Prime Minister’s stated objective to make mental health a priority during this term. A similar commitment is needed on aged care, especially the provision of medical care for older Australians.
“The balance of new Parliament provides an opportunity for scrutiny, review and consultation that will allow the Government to get on with the urgent business of improving the health system in a way that reflects a broader community view,” Dr Pesce said.
Dr Pesce, AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton, and AMA NT President, Dr Paul Bauert, are currently travelling around the Northern Territory visiting hospitals and health services and meeting with local health care providers and NGOs as research for the AMA Indigenous Health Report Card 2010, which will be released later in the year.
8 September 2010
CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
Follow the AMA on Twitter: http://twitter.com/amapresident