Labor’s public health funding a welcome relief

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has commended the Labor party’s recommitment to fund 50 per cent of the efficient growth in hospital costs over the next four years if it wins the July 2 election.

General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Brett Holmes, said the party’s pledge to restore the National Health Reform Agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories would help provide the funding our public hospitals need.

“The Coalition’s cuts to public health funding in the 2014-15 budget are not sustainable. Nurses and midwives are already feeling the strain and finding it harder to deliver high quality care. We’re expecting the situation to become significantly worse when the cuts come into effect in July next year,” Mr Holmes said.

“Our public health system needs a more realistic commitment from the federal government to cope with our growing ageing population. A funding agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories is crucial.

“It’s clear from this recent announcement that the Coalition is a long way behind Labor this election when it comes to supporting public health. Labor’s $4.9 billion investment in hospitals is $2 billion more than Turnbull has promised over the next four years. In addition, the Coalition has ripped $650 million out of Medicare with its bulk-billing incentive cuts, while Labor has announced it will lift the rebate freeze, abolish the $5 increase in prescription costs and legislate to ensure Medicare remains in public hands.

“Labor’s announcement of $100 million in funding to strengthen primary health care over the next two years is another boost for our hospital system. Initiatives that aim to reduce the growing demand on hospital services are vital if we’re to maintain an affordable and sustainable public health system.”

The NSWNMA has called on all MPs and candidates this election to sign a pledge to commit to four key funding and policy announcements in health and aged care, which include the restoration of the health funding agenda, support for our Medicare system, the protection of penalty rates and a commitment to registered nurses 24/7 in aged care.

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