22 February 2011 The Gillard Government remains unable to clearly explain the role of Medicare Locals in its so-called health ‘reforms’, despite issuing a 20 page document about them today.
But what has become clear, Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton said today, is that they are all about spin and very little about health reform substance.
“They are named to give an impression that there’ll be one just down the road that patients can walk in to for help, just as you can walk into a Medicare office, but nothing could be further from the truth and the Prime Minister was forced to reveal that today.”
“She admitted that patients would never see a Medicare Local and skirted the question when asked if that meant a patient would never actually see anybody working in a Medicare Local.”
“How they are going to be co-ordinating someone’s care without knowing that someone is an interesting proposition to say the least,” Mr Dutton said.
He said Labor’s formation of so-called Medicare Locals was nothing more than the creation of another 42 bureaucracies across the country.
It was also becoming clear that Labor’s real plan for Medicare Locals was to attack the core fee-for- service model in general practice and primary health care.
“The Prime Minister today made it clear that her aim was to eventually have Medicare Locals as fund-holding organisations in the primary health care sector,” Mr Dutton said.
“As such, Medicare Locals could eventually intervene in health delivery.”
“Health professionals should be concerned about this incursion into the ‘doctor-patient’ relationship and on just what ‘fund-holding’ by these Kevin Rudd thought-bubble bodies might mean in the future.”
The Shadow Minister said it was clear yet again that Labor’s so-called health ‘reforms’ – re-badged and re-worked by Julia Gillard - were nothing more than policy on the run.
“Kevin Rudd failed to deliver on his prolific promises in health, it’s doubtful Julia Gillard will do any better,” Mr Dutton said.