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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Tonight’s Federal Budget strongly demonstrates the key importance of health in Australia, the Australian Medical Association (WA) said today.
“The 2017-18 Federal Budget seems to be a significant step in the right direction for health, especially with the lifting of the Medicare Freeze, even though it is disappointing that it is going to take place over three years,” AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller said.
“World class health is an investment, not a cost.
“The disastrous Medicare freeze has had a substantially negative impact on General Practice in Australia and has therefore had a detrimental impact on health. It was a mistake to introduce it and to leave it in place this long, and although the government is wise to unwind before going to an election there is no catch up in this slow thaw.
“Other countries envy Australia’s leadership in health outcomes and bang for the buck, and it is important that the Federal Government has taken this substantial step towards starting to fix a serious problem that has made general practice marginal and more expensive for patients.
“AMA Federal President Dr Michael Gannon has worked tirelessly in meetings with Health Minister Greg Hunt and health department bureaucrats, and the profession is lucky to have such an effective AMA President at this time.
“In this economy we accept that we can’t get everything we want but it is on behalf of patients that we fight.
“Minister Hunt has been wise to listen to the AMA.
“I also recognise Dr Gannon’s efforts in getting progress on this issue in a tight budget and congratulate him on his gains. He has what it takes to hold the government to its word,” he said.
Dr Miller said there were a host of health announcements to be analysed in the 2017-18 Budget.
“Encouragingly, the 2017-18 Budget has a strong focus on mental health and preventative health, however it is contingent on matched commitments from the State Government so there is work to do there,” Dr Miller said.
Dr Miller welcomed the furthering of the No Jab, No Pay policy via a $5.5 million immunisation awareness campaign.
“This is one area where all clinicians, all governments and all parents can work as together, and it should begin as soon as practicable,” he said.
“Tonight’s Budget provides an initial positive road map for the future of health. It is not complete yet, and is a slow start but we are not going backwards. The Federal Government seems to be listening to those who really understand health,” Dr Miller said.