14 August 2009
Kevin Rudd’s hospital ‘listening’ tour rolled into Victoria today, but it seems the Prime Minister doesn’t really want to hear the truth that he has failed to ‘fix’ hospitals.
The Prime Minister’s nationwide ‘consultations’ were nothing more than an exercise in PR-spin and photo-opportunities, Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said today.
“The Prime Minister has shirked his commitment to ‘fix’ hospitals by mid-year and is now stalling for another six months.”
Mr Dutton said the consultation tour was a smokescreen to provide Mr Rudd with the cover to avoid making any tough decisions or having to take any action to alleviate problems in hospitals and Australia’s healthcare system.
“Kevin Rudd doesn’t care about what’s happening in hospitals, the listening tour is a delaying tactic, it is all about politics and providing a political advantage to Labor.”
“By next year Mr Rudd will be promising to ‘fix’ health in a second term, making exactly the same promises as he did before the last election.”
Kevin Rudd and Nicola Roxon have so far ‘listened’ to health professionals about the state of hospitals in Adelaide, Sydney, Cairns and Townsville - yet failed to hear what they are being told – the truth is staring them in the face yet again from today’s newspaper headlines.
The forthright letter from a senior Emergency Department doctor published in The Herald Sun starkly details the crisis in health that Mr Rudd said he would ‘fix’.
The letter called for action not more discussion – and that’s the message Kevin Rudd is getting around the country, Mr Dutton said.
“And the doctor clearly hit the nail on the head when he told Mr Rudd: ‘You will not get this from a few minutes of chit-chat and handshakes as you wander through our overburdened hospitals’.”
Mr Dutton said the Prime Minister should face up to his promises and take the tough decisions that his Labor counterparts in the States clearly cannot make.
“Two years ago Mr Rudd told Australians he had a plan for health. Eighteen months ago he said he would end the blame game, that the buck would stop with him and that he would ‘fix’ hospitals; but he’s done nothing of the kind,” Mr Dutton said.
“When several thousand people protested about savage funding cuts to their hospital in Cootamundra yesterday – the blame game was in full flight.”
“The Health Minister told Parliament it had nothing to do with the Rudd Government – the one that promised to ‘fix’ hospitals – it was all the fault of a New South Wales Government area health service.”
Mr Dutton said the Minister’s response showed the Rudd Government’s promises on health were meaningless.