15 December 2009
Kevin Rudd is openly preparing to recycle his promise to ‘fix’ the nation’s public hospitals in next year’s election campaign.
According to media reports today, Mr Rudd has set out ‘his plan for next year’ which includes a promise to ‘table his proposals for fixing the nation’s hospitals’.
The Prime Minister’s latest rhetoric sounds remarkably similar to his grandiose promise at the 2007 election that he had ‘a long-term plan to fix our nation’s hospitals’.
Mr Rudd even provided a timeline, stating that if the State and Territories hadn’t begun implementing a reform plan by ‘mid-2009’ that ‘a proposition for the Commonwealth to assume full funding responsibility will be developed and put to the Australian people’.
Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Peter Dutton, said that today’s reports show that not only has the Prime Minister failed to deliver on his promise for major reform by mid-2009, after more than two years in office the Prime Minister still doesn’t even have a plan for reform.
“We had a clear promise from Mr Rudd at the last election that he had a plan to fix the nation’s hospitals, that the buck would stop with him and that mid-2009 was his deadline.”
“Today we learn that the Prime Minister will announce the same promise at the next election and it is clear that he never really had any intention of implementing a plan at all,” Mr Dutton said.
“Serious health reform has long lead times, the situation for many hospitals is critical and despite the enormous expense and resources developing endless reports and recommendations, the Prime Minister has failed to act and valuable time has been lost.”
The Rudd Government is yet to formally respond to the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission’s 123 recommendations which were released earlier this year.
The December COAG meeting was widely anticipated to deliver a detailed response to reform of the public hospital system. Instead, the Prime Minister and Premiers merely agreed ‘that national health reform would be a central priority for 2010’.
“The Australian public don’t want the Prime Minster to recycle his promise to fix hospitals – they deserve some ‘programmatic specificity’ and proper action on hospital reform before next year,” Mr Dutton said.
Media contact – John Wiseman (07) 3205 9977 or 0429 983 618