Mixed Fortunes For Hospitals

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12th May 2009, 11:00pm - Views: 906

Community Health Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association 1 image

12 May 2009

The Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association (AHHA) has welcomed the Federal

Government’s announcement of much-needed health infrastructure projects.  However

the Association’s members are disappointed that the funding for hospitals and health

service facilities appears to fall short of the promised $5 billion from the 2008-09


The AHHA is the peak national body representing public hospitals, area health services,

community health centres and public aged care providers.

"The AHHA is also disappointed that the Federal Government has made the decision to

remove the commitment of the additional $5 billion in expected funding to the Health

and Hospitals Infrastructure Fund.  This is undermining the future of the health system

and threatens the Government’s goals for health reform," Ms Prue Power, Executive

Director, said. 

"The community will share our concern that Australia's strained hospital and health

service infrastructure has not been given the much-needed attention that was promised

in the last Budget. The health needs of the population do not slow down even when the

economy does.

"The funding saved through the means testing of the inefficient Private Health Insurance

(PHI) Rebate Scheme should be used to make up the funding shortfall for the Health and

Hospitals Infrastructure Fund.  As the Department of the Treasury stated previously in

advice to the Government, direct funding to hospitals is much more effective, rather

than via the PHI rebate.  The AHHA does not accept that the funds should be lost from

the health system as a savings measure.

"The AHHA welcomes some Budget measures, such as the reform of the Medicare

safety-net to target benefits more directly to those in need and to reduce the

opportunities for private providers to manipulate the system. The AHHA also strongly

supports funding to hospitals for elective surgery and subacute care, two key issues

identified in the AHHA’s Service Integration policy released in 2008.

"We also support health workforce initiatives announced, specifically incentives to

increase the number of doctors in rural and remote areas, and the expansion of MBS and

PBS for some nurse practitioners and midwives.  The announcement of infrastructure

funding for research and clinical training is also a welcome investment in the future.

"However, the effectiveness of these initiatives will be undermined if our hospitals and

health services do not have the infrastructure required to support high quality care. 

Unless we want the next generation of Australians to inherit a health system that is not

physically equipped to meet the needs of the community and lags behind that of other

countries, the Government must increase funding for health infrastructure," Ms Power


Contact:  Prue Power, Executive Director, 0417 419 857

Mixed fortunes for


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