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22 November 2011   Nicola Roxon is ill equipped to explain “Why policy and politics matter to patients” at her appearance at the National Press Club today.
Her record as Health Minister has delivered only failed policy and petty politics with patients little more than the props in Labor’s ‘health reform’ saga.
Early last year Kevin Rudd was standing before the Press Club detailing what was then described as Labor’s “radical, historic” health reform plan – the National Health and Hospitals Network.
Time has shown the Rudd-Roxon policy proposals have turned to dust and that they were all about politics to Labor – never about patients.
Nicola Roxon has many questions to answer today as, no doubt, she attempts to make yet more exaggerated and unfounded claims about the now Gillard Government’s ‘historic’ reforms in health.
Given the overarching promise in 2007 to “fix” hospitals and end the “blame game” – the Health Minister should start today by answering this question –
            For a patient entering a public hospital – what is different today from 2007?
It should be noted that the agreement Julia Gillard signed with the States in August this year states: “This agreement…recognises that…the States are the system managers of the public hospital system.”
Where does that leave the Rudd-Roxon promises of majority funding of hospitals, of fixing them or taking them over if they weren’t “fixed”.
            Just how has Labor “fixed” hospitals?
            Exactly what are the “most significant reforms of Australia’s health and hospital system since the introduction of Medicare almost three decades ago” – as Kevin Rudd promised at the Press Club in March 2010?
As the Minister no doubt prattles on about how the new bureaucracies that Labor is creating are “real reform”, perhaps she should face up to some other queries:
            Is the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme still to be closed at December 31?
            Is she still intent on damaging private health insurance with ill-considered rebate cuts?
            Will she admit that Labor’s big new mental health plan announced this year actually takes money out of mental health treatment in the current financial year?
            Can the Minister guarantee that her government will, in future, list drugs recommended by the PBAC or are deferrals of new medicines the way of the future under Labor?
            When will all of the 64 – correction 62 – promised GP Super Clinics be opened, operative and providing full services?
            What will Medicare Locals actually do?
            When did the Government realise it needed yet more bureaucracy via the Medicare Local National Body and where and when will it detail the cost of this additional body?
            How many Lead Clinicians Groups have been formed and are operative?
            When will all Local Hospital Networks be established and operative?
Perhaps the Minister will unveil, yet another “National Health Reform Progress and Delivery” Chart with answers to these and many other questions.


Posted in: Media Releases
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