Wednesday 30 May 2012 Labor’s promise to end the health blame game has been shattered by evidence in Senate Estimates about “savage cuts” to Tasmania’s public hospitals.
Since Labor’s supposed ‘reforms’ were announced, Tasmania’s health system has been cut by over $100 million. Tasmania’s hospitals have effectively sacked a nurse a day for nine months, with a total of 287 full time nurse positions disappearing. Tasmania is suffering the closure of 100 beds in a year, reduced elective surgery volumes and with more cuts to follow.
Tanya Plibersek’s Tasmanian Labor counterpart, Michelle O’Byrne has admitted in Tasmanian Estimates that Federal Labor’s so called ‘reforms’ are at the heart of the problem.
On the 9 February 2012, Minister Plibersek told the Parliament, “...we will be requiring much closer oversight of the Tasmanian government's management of the health system in Tasmania. I think the saying might be 'we will be all over them like a rash”.
Despite the Minister’s repeated promises, today’s evidence highlights that the blame game has reached a new low with one of this country’s most dramatic withdrawals of funding from frontline health and hospital services.
The Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Peter Dutton, has called on the Minister to live up to her rhetoric on health.
“The Minister is delivering the reverse of her promises about Tasmania. She claims “we will be all over them like a rash”, the reality is that these reforms are all over her like a rash,” Mr Dutton said.
Minister Plibersek said in debate on the latest tranche on National Health Reform legislation, “..the dialogue between the Commonwealth and the states on public hospital funding has been characterised by mutual blame and recrimination, with accusations of removal of funds by one level of government when additional funds were put in by another.”
“It is clear from evidence today that the blame game and recrimination is thriving under Labor’s supposed reforms,” Mr Dutton said.