12 November 2010 Nicola Roxon today announced the shelving of key reforms for diabetes patients and mental health services in a sign of the worsening disarray of health policy under Labor.
The move comes on top of earlier reports of facility closures and job cuts in the pathology sector as a result of Labor policy.
The Shadow Health Minister, Peter Dutton, said it shows health policy is in chaos under this Labor Government and has called for the Prime Minister to intervene.
“This is the second term of the Labor Government and for Nicola Roxon as Health Minister - excuses for the failure to consult, disastrous policy and endless back-flips have run out,” Mr Dutton said.
“It is clear with the three separate issues today that the health portfolio has gone off the rails and the Prime Minister needs to heed the lessons of the BER and insulation disasters and intervene in this crucial policy area before things get worse.”
“Labor has failed to competently deliver and implement these initial changes without adverse consequences for patients, clinicians and the health system – it doesn’t bode well for Labor’s other reform proposals.”
Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said it took too long for the Minister to respond to patients’ and clinicians’ concerns about Labor’s proposal to cut Medicare rebates for social workers and occupational therapists under the Better Access program.
“This Minister has let clinicians and patients endure months of stress and uncertainty which could have been avoided through early consultation.”
“It is further evidence that despite the rhetoric, mental health is not a priority for the Gillard Labor Government”.
“Rather than investing in mental health services, Labor has been trying to cut Medicare rebates, only to be forced into back-flips at the last minute.”
“If Labor is serious about improving mental health services, the Government should support the Coalition’s mental health motion in the Parliament and act to implement it,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
Media contact: For Peter Dutton - John Wiseman 0429 983 618
For Senator Fierravanti-Wells – Margot Date 0407 485 907