The Australian Medical Association (AMA) Federal Budget Submission 2008-09 provides the Government with suggested health spending priorities to build a sustainable and equitable health system to serve Australians for the long term. The Submission was lodged with Treasury on 18 January in keeping with the Treasurer’s deadline.
AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said the May Budget is an opportunity for the new Government to reclaim its responsibility for health care. “The Government can use the Budget to put substance to its promises to provide national leadership on public hospitals, Indigenous health, rural health and aged care, in particular,” Dr Capolingua said.
“The first thing the Government should do is fund enough new public hospital beds to meet the needs of those requiring admission. The AMA estimates that a minimum 3,750 new beds are needed. Doctor training needs to be high on the Government’s agenda. Medical school intakes are being increased dramatically, but resources and infrastructure have not been put in place to ensure that these future doctors will get the training and experience they need. Australia is world renown for its high standards of medical training and we need to keep it that way. There must also be commitment from the Government to acknowledge and support general practice as the leader in the provision of primary health care. GPs need greater support in their increasing roles in preventative health in areas such as obesity, smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse.”
Dr Capolingua said the AMA’s Budget Submission promotes measures that support quality health care for all Australians.
“The Government must capitalise on its cooperative relationship with the States and Territories to end the blame game in health and create more efficient programs and services for the benefit of patients and communities.
“Our proposed remedies are practical and affordable, and we ask the Government to examine our submission carefully and act on its recommendations,” Dr Capolingua said.
The AMA Federal Budget Submission 2008-09 provides compelling arguments for significant Government investment in the following areas:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health,
Revitalised Public Hospitals,
Rural Health Workforce and Infrastructure,
Assistance for Bonded Medical School Students,
More Support for General Practice Nurses,
Funding Medicare for the Future,
Efficient Medicare Claiming,
Aged Care Services,
Medical care for the Aged,
Source: Australian Medical Association, Australia