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7 June 2010 Joint Media Release the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Senator Fierravanti-Wells, Shadow Minister for Ageing.

A variety of the nation’s major medical groups today questioned whether the Rudd Government’s so-called health reforms would meet the many promises made by the Prime Minister.
The AMA told a Senate Inquiry into the COAG agreement on health and hospitals that the states could remain firmly in the “driver’s seat” in health.
AMA President Dr Andrew Pesce said there were concerns that nothing would change that everything could remain the same.
He reiterated comments in the AMA submission that the intergovernmental agreement “will not end the blame game, but instead merely provide different opportunities to undermine and ‘game’ the system”.
Rural Doctors CEO Steve Sant told the inquiry his members saw more bureaucracy as a “real risk” from the proposed changes and they were yet to see whether the reforms would help rural health.
Dr Adrian Sheen of Doctors’ Action said doctors worried that the Rudd Government was introducing the British National Health Servicemodel which would increase costs, increase bureaucracy and lead to the demise of the family doctor.
Catholic Health Australia and the Australian General Practice Network both expressed concern about a lack of detail and lack of clarity surrounding the changes proposed in the COAG health and hospitals agreement.
The hearing today also showed there was -
  • Ongoing confusion about whether clinicians would have a definite role on Local Hospital Network Governing Councils given that the COAG agreement specifically rules out their involvement – does local mean local?
  • The Department of Health and Ageing could not confirm whether the Commonwealth Auditor-General would be able to monitor Local Hospital Networks which will be given the bulk of Federal and State funding for hospitals – the Victorian Auditor-General previously has found hospitals in that state fudged numbers to meet targets
  • No serious consultations with private hospitals about the role they would play in health care under the so-called reforms
  • More questions than answers about how the Rudd ‘reforms’ would operate and whether they would deliver any significant change
“We are no wiser as to how Ken Rudd’s grand hospital plan will actually work – we know the States are still in charge, there is more bureaucracy, more scope for the blame game and very little detail on accountability and governance,” Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said.
The Senate Finance and Public Administration Inquiry continues in Melbourne tomorrow.
Media contact: John Wiseman – (02) 6277 4884 or 0429 983 618



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