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Federal Elective Surgery Money Won't Fix Problem

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 22 August 2014

Tags: Health, Elective Surgery, Federal Budget

The announcement of a $23.4 million funding allocation to Tasmania’s public hospitals is welcome but it’s political smoke and mirrors compared with the estimated $1.77 billion that will be carved out of the State’s health budget over the next decade as a result of the Abbott Budget, Greens Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said today.

“The Health Minister desperately needed a good news story in his portfolio in the face of the devastating budget cuts delivered by his federal colleagues, and Peter Dutton has given it to him, but the notion that this money will do anything to repair the damage caused by Canberra’s abandonment of the National Health Reform Agreement and National Partnership on Improving Public Hospital Performance, is frankly, unrealistic,” Ms O’Connor said.

“The Greens, of course, welcome any injection of funds into improving elective surgery waiting lists, but this money won’t go far in a system that is already losing staff and capacity as a result of the Federal and State Liberals approach to public health and public sector employment.”

“We know that jobs are already being shed in our public hospitals, and we know that hospital management are bracing themselves for very dark days ahead as a result of the Abbott Government walking away from the National Health Reform Agreement and National Partnership on Improving Public Hospital Performance.”

“This federal money will provide only very temporary relief and does precisely zero to deal with the systemic under-funding of public health in Tasmania, and the long term consequences of the Abbott Government ripping almost $2billion out of Tasmania’s health system over the coming decade.”

“Minister Ferguson has got his good news story for one day, but he needs to be straight with Tasmanians that their public health system is being systematically eroded by the Liberals at a State and Federal level,” Ms O’Connor said.