Written by John Cobb MP -
Patients the losers in the government’s hospital blame game
Labor promised to fix public hospitals and end the blame game. It also promised to end the buck passing between the Commonwealth and the states. Well it has failed on all fronts.
In MYEFO last year, the Gillard Government announced $1.6 billion in funding cuts to public hospitals – $403 million of which is being clawed-back this financial year alone. Labor have promised
only to reinstate the $107 million in retrospective cuts for Victoria and only for this financial year.
The Health Minister now needs to explain why a retrospective cut to hospital funding is still acceptable in NSW and Queensland. Treasury documents show that this financial year alone NSW hospitals
will lose nearly $140 million and Queensland hospitals $103 million.
The cuts to hospital funding are in addition to nearly $4 billion that is being cut from private health insurance and the $1 billion that is being cut from dental health through Labor’s closure of the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.
Reports today show terminally ill cancer patients and the elderly will be left without specialised
end of life care when a $500m federal program ceases from July. Labor’s response is that the states have funding and can pay for palliative services – but as is increasingly clear, deep cuts to federal health payments to the states are translating into a loss of frontline
services. This is an appalling outcome for people at their most vulnerable and begs the question, what next?
Expansion of CSU Medical School proposal adds weight to case
Last week CSU announced it intended to open a second campus to its proposed medical school in Wagga, in addition to its original plans for Orange.
The proposal aims to provide medical and health training for students and boost the number of health professionals for
regional Australia and address the shortage of doctors in the bush.
Rural Australia has half the number of doctors compared to our capital cities, and chronic shortages of other essential health professionals. Rural Australians are more likely to have a chronic disease because of poor access to primary health care services and are significantly more likely to die from a preventable illness.
Sadly thousands of rural Australians die unnecessarily every year in one of the world's most developed nations, simply because of where they live. National and international evidence shows that if you train rural students to be doctors and other health professionals in the bush, they will remain to work in the bush.
It’s important we seize this opportunity and do what we can to get this happening, not just for Orange and Wagga, but for regional NSW and Australia.
Out and about at local shows
It was great to spend the morning at the Sofala Show on Sunday. The committee put
on an excellent program and it was a pleasure to help judge the showgirls – the rain held off just long enough to sash the winners. I’m heading to the Blayney Show this Saturday which will feature the U Beaut Ute Muster, Heritage Tractors and Machinery, Vintage Car Display and the woodchop
. I look forward to catching up with some locals there!