Abbott’s unhealthy budget response

Friday 14th May, 2010

Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s budget response threatens to undermine much needed reform of Australia’s health care system, the Australian Nursing Federation said today.

ANF federal secretary Ged Kearney said Mr Abbott’s response, while light on detail, suggested that health and hospital reform would not be a priority if the Coalition was elected. “It is extraordinary that Mr Abbott would talk about cutting back on health reform spending considering the obvious urgent need for improving a health care system that suffered more than a decade of neglect under the former Howard government.”

Ms Kearney said Australian’s would be deeply concerned by the Opposition leader’s suggestion that the current direction in health reform is not warranted. “Is Mr Abbott suggesting that a Coalition government would offer no relief for thousands of people on elective surgery waiting lists, no extra care for nursing home residents and no improvements in primary health care services?”

Ms Kearney said Mr Abbott should spend more time asking members of the public and health professionals what they expect from a government instead of dismissing health reform as a national priority.

“People want a robust health system so that if they find themselves or a loved one in need of care they can access the appropriate level of care without unnecessary delay. Nurses and midwives want an adequately resourced health care system so that they can provide care,” Ms Kearney said. “Every single Australian should be taking very keen notice of what Mr Abbott is saying in relation to health reform in the lead up to a federal election.