Page 1597 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 12 May 2015

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The question really is: where does he think there are inefficiencies, and how would he fix them? Our support services across ACT Health provide our clinical workforce with the level of service they need to be able to focus on the most important part of our health system—the patients and consumers who use our services. What additional administrative work will Mr Hanson ask our doctors and nurses to take on to cover for his so-called aim for efficiency?

Another major reason for our higher average costs is the decisions made by governments to provide high cost but low volume services. I ask the opposition: if they were elected next year, what services would they cut? Will there be an end to heart bypass surgery services? What about our neonatal intensive care services? Or maybe the Liberals think that, when it comes to efficiency, people needing bone marrow transplants need to travel to Sydney.

It is easy to throw pot-shots from the other side of the chamber, but if the Leader of the Opposition is genuinely concerned about the costs and efficiency of our health service, he needs to say where he is going to find those efficiencies. Will he side with his colleagues federally, or will he get on board with his Liberal colleagues in the states?

As I stated last week, the New South Wales government is also demanding that the commonwealth reverse its hospital funding cuts. The Premier, Mr Baird, said:

… what happened last federal budget is not sustainable … the commonwealth … said ‘we are going to allocate a large part of the future growth in health costs from ourselves to the state governments’.

But this is what is not sustainable. Mr Baird said:

The states do not have the capacity to meet those health costs on their own. The commonwealth has a critical role to play.

He said:

It’s not sustainable, to pass that health cost, which is the biggest cost to every state budget, down—that is the number one issue, we need to ensure the federal government deals with.

This is coming from the Liberal Premier of the largest state in the commonwealth. The future impact of the commonwealth’s position in terms of public hospital funding is either major cuts to other areas of government or a very poorly resourced public hospital sector.

Last Thursday, the opposition leader made note of the AMA’s recent comments about our public hospital system. But he conveniently missed the main thrust of the AMA’s position. The AMA President, Associate Professor Brian Owler, said, when commenting on changes to the commonwealth’s cuts to state and territory public hospital funding:

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