Budget cuts hurt nurses, midwives and patients

Australia’s largest health union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has warned that more than $2 billion slashed from the health and aged care budgets will ultimately decrease access to health care and lead to poorer patient outcomes.

Last Federal Budget saw an unacceptably high $57 billion taken from the public health system and ANMF Federal Secretary Lee Thomas says the Government has “added insult to injury this year” by axing a further $2 billion from health and aged care in this year’s Budget, in disease prevention and chronic care areas including child dental benefits, mental and preventative health drug and alcohol programs and child health assessments.

“The ANMF accepts that as Australia’s population continues to grow, healthcare costs will also increase. We are angered the Government has failed to ensure continued sustainability of our health system through fair and adequate funding allocations, instead relying on misdirected and chronic underfunding,” Ms Thomas said today.

“The Federal Government had the opportunity to remedy longstanding issues such as the growing unemployment of nurse graduates and the appallingly low wages in aged care, sadly neither of these important issues are addressed in the Budget.

“In fact, more than $40 million has been cut from aged care workforce development, scholarships and training, at a time when Australia urgently needs 20,000 nurses to meet the challenges of a rapidly-ageing population.

“At best, this Budget is a short term fix, but the reality is it’s much more about the Federal Government’s electoral popularity and leaves the community with decreasing access to health and aged care services across the country.”

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