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Extra $220M to Health in Greens’ Alternative Budget

31 May 2017

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Health spokesperson

The Greens’ Alternative Budget prioritises what Tasmanians most want, fixing the State’s health system - currently at breaking point. Included in our Alternative Budget is an investment of an additional $220 million over four years to help Tasmanians stay well longer, and to rescue the hospitals from crisis.

The Greens will prioritise an additional $92.53 million over the forward estimates to staff an extra 200 hospital beds, which would reduce the near-permanent bed block in the Royal Hobart Hospital, and help repair elective surgery waiting lists.

Tasmania lags far behind other states in hospital bed numbers, as a result of the Liberals’ $210 million 2014 Budget cut, and regular under-funding in budgets since.

In times of emergency, ambulance response times can mean the difference between life and death.  The Liberals have refused to implement the 2010 Ambulance Tasmania Review, and Tasmania now has a service with the worst median response times in the country.

The Greens would spend $38.1 million to employ 102 new paramedics and operational staff, and establish three new ambulance dispatch centres in Longford, Swansea and Dodges Ferry to help address response times.

Without a serious investment in preventative health, there will never be a prospect of Tasmanians having the best health in the country by 2025.

The Greens have provided $39.72 to keep people well longer. These include:

·        $20.66 million for Allied Health professionals for regional areas

·        $3.3 million on stronger tobacco control

·        $3 million for a Sugar Strategy

·        $4 million for an LGBTI Suicide Prevention Program

·        $4 million for mental health resilience in communities

 

In last week’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill debate, many Liberals, including the Health Minister, spoke passionately about the importance of palliative care. The lack of funds in the State Budget revealed those as hollow and cynical statements.

The Greens understand high quality palliative care is a right, not a privilege.  Our budget commits an extra $9.82 million for a stand-alone palliative care facility in Northern Tasmania, $8 million to support people to die in their home, and $3 million to Palliative Care Tasmania to continue their essential education program.