Need for health reforms too important for further delays
AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, has said that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) had failed to meet widespread expectations that it would reveal some signs of national consensus on meaningful health reform.
"The COAG Communiqué states that COAG agreed that long-term health reform was required to deliver better services for patients and the Commonwealth would put specific proposals to the States in the first half of 2010," Dr Pesce said.
"People are losing confidence because the timeframes keep changing and getting put back.
"We can only tolerate further delays if we can get some assurances that solutions are being considered that will actually fix our deteriorating system.
"Our governments must give a firm indication of the direction and extent of the health reform that is being developed.
"There was extra money announced to relieve elective surgery waiting times, which is welcome, but this will not bring about long term improvement in our hospitals.
"Major structural reform is needed.
"The AMA wants the Commonwealth to be the single national funder of public hospitals, with the States to continue the day-to-day management of the hospitals.
"We need urgent action to build our health workforce, especially our medical workforce, to meet the growing need from an ageing population and more people suffering complex and chronic diseases.
"We must cut the enormous amount of red tape that is strangling efficiency and productivity in the health system.
"Governance and decision making in our hospitals must be based on the advice of the doctors and nurses who work at the coalface.
"The Australian people expect significant health reform to improve their access to quality health services – and they expect it soon," Dr Pesce said.