AMA Victoria supports Brumby opposing Rudd’s health plans

The Commonwealth had proposed health changes by taking control of health funding by withholding some GST revenue. The Victorian Government has released an alternative approach for this. This plan called ‘The Putting Patients First’ intends for increases in Commonwealth health funding to be distributed by the States.

The hospitals would then have to submit performance reports to both the federal and relevant state governments. According to the Victorian Premier John Brumby, this model would clearly position the States as the level of government responsible for health. He is supported by State Health minister, Daniel Andrews who said that this plan was a better option than having the Commonwealth redirect GST revenue into hospitals. "The model we have put forward today is practical, it's simple, it will work," he said. According to him there has been an increase in bottom-line funding of hospitals and health care services by 130% over the last 10 years with an increase of an extra 700,000 patients this year than a decade ago. Mr. Brumby said that equal partnership would need a funding increase of $1.2 billion for patients next year and expects the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that will meet this month will support his plans. "Another key feature of this blueprint is a national health fighting fund to combat our five big killers and the underlying risk factors, such as obesity and smoking," he said.

The Victorian branch of AMA also spoke in support of Mr. Brumby urging him to continue to oppose Prime Minister’s hospital reforms. According to AMA Victoria president Harry Hemley Mr Rudd's National Health and Hospitals Network proposal has too many ambiguous areas and would not provide better health care for the state. He also fears for the patients and tax payers with this system since Victoria has one the most efficient health care systems. As per these rules according to him Victorian hospitals would receive $1.5 billion less than NSW because of its efficiency in 2011-12. "We recommend you ask the Commonwealth give Victoria an additional $1.5 billion over two years to address some of our capital needs…At this stage, AMA Victoria cannot recommend that you agree …" he wrote to Mr Brumby. He said that the Prime Minister’s proposal also does not address key areas, "AMA would like to know the Prime Minister's plans for reform in general practice, aged care, Koori health, primary care, e-Health, chronic disease management and preventive health care."

The Prime Minister plans to keep in touch with the Premiers on this in the wake of the 19th April COAG meeting and urges them to support the Government's 60 per cent takeover of hospitals. Mr. Brumby has met with the Prime Minister on more than one occasion to discuss this issue but says it will take more to convince him to agree to this deal.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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