Nurses welcome biggest healthcare reform since Medicare

Wednesday 3rd March, 2010

Ged Kearney, Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation said today that the reforms to heath care announced by the Prime Minister are the most significant to the health system since the introduction of Medicare.

“These reforms fundamentally alter how we fund and deliver health care in Australia making it more transparent and accountable.

“The move by the Commonwealth Government to become the majority funder of health care will help stop cost shifting and duplication in hospital funding.

“Establishing local health networks should make the health system more responsive and accountable to communities and clinicians. It will make accessing the health system easier and less complicated for patients and hopefully improve services.

“Nurses and other health staff have argued for the buck passing and blame shifting in health to stop and we believe this proposal will help to do that.

“If Australia didn’t change the way we funded our health system then something was going to give, with costs increasing faster than revenues.

“The new funding arrangements will ensure that the health system is funded on a long term and sustainable basis.

“The introduction of activity based funding is welcome but it is important that the costings reflect the full cost of services, including nursing care.

“Importantly the Prime Minister has avoided the mistake of moving health management to local individual hospital boards which would just soak up more funding and lead to duplication and inefficiencies in hospital services.

“The best way to plan and fund health is on a regional basis where you can direct scarce resources to deliver a comprehensive health service across several hospitals. This maximises our health dollar and ensures there is a holistic approach to health care,” Ms Kearney said.”

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