8 June 2010 Health workers and the public are being misled by the Rudd Government’s deceptive advertising campaign on its so-called health ‘reforms’ which promises a ‘federally funded – locally managed’ health and hospitals system.
The Prime Minister’s deception was apparent again today as a Senate Committee Inquiry probed the reality of Mr Rudd’s proposals.
Shadow Minister for Ageing Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said it was clear from witnesses at the inquiry that they were not being informed of the reality of the COAG health agreement.
“While the Prime Minister maintains this charade that local health professionals will have a say in how Local Hospital Networks are managed, the truth is the opposite.
“The campaign is misleading and simply wrong and needs to be withdrawn immediately or at the very least changed to reflect that local does not appear to mean local.
“The COAG agreement signed with the states is clear, Mr Rudd and the Labor Premiers are only prepared to allow clinicians external to a Local Hospital Network onto that network’s Governing Council,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said the Prime Minister should come clean that he was expressly locking local clinicians out of local management.
“Just like with the mining industry, Mr Rudd is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to argue his partisan political case on health and he’s not telling people the truth,” Mr Dutton said.
Distinguished health expert Professor David Penington told the Senate Inquiry today that local clinical involvement in management at the forefront of Mr Rudd’s announcements in March disappeared when he met the Premiers in April and that the COAG agreement would only allow remote clinical management in local hospitals.
But many health sector groups are not being fully informed by the government. At the second day of hearings by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee they indicated there was little detail to inform them on Labor’s so-called health ‘reforms’.
· The Consumers Health Forum indicated it had not seen a concrete policy on a genuine role for consumers in the ‘reforms’
· The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said that it did not have enough of the detail of reforms and referring to evidence yesterday that the ‘reforms’ could introduce aspects of Britain’s NHS said it would have concerns around that
· The Primary Health Care Partnership said there was a lack of clarity over who would be controlling various aspects of health care and that for the next five years it might be “business as usual”
· The Health Care Reform Alliance said the ‘reform’ proposals might not end gaming around waiting lists in the health sector
· Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry said mental health care workers were stunned that mental health had been virtually left out of the ‘reform’ funding and had found it deeply disappointing
Mr Dutton and Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the hearings had revealed that the Rudd ‘reforms’ were nothing more than a facade which would not change health – the states remained in charge of hospitals, the federal takeover of primary and aged care was blurry at best and all that Kevin Rudd was doing was pouring billions of extra dollars into the State Government’s to enable him to say he was ‘reforming’ health.
“As one witness today said – it looks like business as usual for the foreseeable future,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
Media contact: John Wiseman 0429 983 618