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24 March 2010 Kevin Rudd’s admission yesterday that he would have to adjust funding in his “health plan” to keep regional hospitals open clearly showed how he was making policy on the run.
Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton said it had taken just two weeks for Kevin Rudd to perform his first back-flip on his so-called national health reform plan.
“The question now is – how much is this new position to block-fund smaller hospitals going to cost?”
“Who will pay these additional costs that Kevin Rudd failed to predict in his national health plan – the Commonwealth or the States?”
Mr Dutton said it was just one more question mark over the Rudd so-called “plan” which contained little, if any, detail.
“Kevin Rudd presented this so-called plan as a well thought out response to the need for health reform, yet within days it was exposed as something thrown together to save the Prime Minister and Government from the heat of the pink batts scandal – it was a diversion.”
“It was so well conceived that it failed to realise hundreds of rural and regional hospitals would face closure under the case-mix or activity-based funding it proposed for hospitals,” Mr Dutton said.
Mr Dutton said the Prime Minister and Health Minister denied that the plan would force hospital closures, yet yesterday in the health debate at the National Press Club they were forced to admit the truth.
“What we did get out of the debate yesterday was an admission by the Prime Minister that potentially under his program as he promises it now a couple of hundred hospitals around the country will close in regional areas.”
“It’s exactly why the state premiers have had reluctance to sign up to this program, it’s why we’ve been critical and it’s why many people, stakeholders in the health space, have been critical of this plan as well.”
“It just hasn’t been thought through, this is policy on the run by the Prime Minister, it’s aimed at a headline and it’s certainly not aimed at good policy to fix our hospitals.”
Media contact – John Wiseman 07 3205 9977 – 0429 983 618  
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