COUNTRY HOSPITALS SHOULD BE CAREFUL ON HEALTH PLAN
Posted on Monday, 15 March, 2010
Kevin Rudd’s half formulated plans for reform of the health system has all the hallmarks of its announcements on Green Loans, Pink Batts, NBN, Fuelwatch and national management for the Murray Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said today.
“Like all these other schemes, the Prime Minister, because of political pressures of the time, has made a grand announcement without having done the work on the detail. He is now desperately trying to put the plan together to match the announcement instead of building a management system from the ground up,” he said.
“In this environment I have serious concerns for the way that country hospitals will be treated.
“We well remember the State Government’s lack of understanding for the regions with its proposed Country Health Plan. Without cast-iron guarantees we can have little faith the general announcement on Case Mix funding will not lead the same kind of outcomes for our county facilities.
“South Australia has had a form of Case Mix funding for 15 years, but it has important safety nets for smaller hospitals, there has been no such assurances from the Prime Minister for this plan. We know the delivery of services in the country costs more than the city. If there is not recognition of this fact then country Australians will stand to be the losers.
“This form of funding works best in large hospitals where the occupancy rates are much more predictable. Even large regional hospitals do not have the stability of the bigger city units, so without guarantees, there will be significant threats for country hospitals.
“Clearly this has been policy announced on the run to try and get the disastrous Pink Batts Scheme off the nation’s front pages, lack of real consultation has lead to almost all state leaders rejecting the move to take 30% of their GST receipts and still accept 40% responsibility for funding, with no say in the way the system will run. You would have to wonder whether the Prime Minister is really serious, in fact his public snubbing of NSW Premier Kristina Keneally would suggest he doesn’t want a deal, he wants a public fight.
“The bigger question is whether, following the Federal Government’s current record on a string of mismanaged programs, we would want them to run our hospitals”.
“The proposals about local management are very vague, with no details on the way the hospital groupings will be delineated and whether the management panels will be selected, elected or appointed. There is significant potential for just another layer of bureaucracy. Regardless of how the local management model comes together, it should be remembered, he who holds the purse strings calls the shots.”
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith (08) 8636628
March 15 2010