The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to thoroughly canvas all options to address the looming health funding crisis, ahead of his first Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Sydney today.
State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers are expected to focus their attention heavily on tax reform measures, including various options for broadening or increasing the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Brett Holmes, General Secretary of the NSWNMA, said top priority must return to the issue of addressing healthcare costs and the massive health funding black hole due to hit the state’s Budget from 2017-18.
“Thanks to the multimillion dollar cuts to Commonwealth health funding outlined in the 2014-15 federal Budget, our state government is looking at all possibilities to increase private sector investment in the delivery of public health services,” Mr Holmes said.
“Under the current trajectory, NSW is set to lose $16.5 billion over the next decade as a result of cuts to the previous hospital funding agreement – it’s inevitable that this will impact upon the delivery of public health services and facilities.
“At a time when our population is ageing and chronic illnesses are increasing, we need a sensible approach to improve the sustainability of our world-class health system, not ‘quick fix’ measures, such as a GST hike, that impact upon low and middle income families who are already doing it tough.
“That’s why we support the Turnbull Government exploring the introduction of a minor Financial Transactions Tax (or Robin Hood Tax) to raise much needed federal health funding.”
Mr Holmes said nurses and midwives across the state had called on Premier Mike Baird to return the focus of today’s COAG meeting to the health needs of NSW.
“Patient safety is the core of our profession and we have an obligation to ensure safe patient care is delivered to all patients regardless of their ailment, age, where they live or their capacity to pay,” said Mr Holmes.
“But the delivery of safe patient care cannot be guaranteed if vital health and hospital funding continues to be slashed by governments.
“We have fought hard for nurses-to-patient ratios in NSW to provide and maintain safe patient care in our public hospitals, but governments must also ensure these measures are properly funded, protected and expanded to deliver better health outcomes for all.”
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