The COAG Reform Council’s Healthcare in Australia 2012–13: Five years of performance report highlights the need for proper investment in preventive health and Australia’s hospital system.
The report finds that life expectancy is increasing, smoking rates are declining and emergency department waiting times are improving.
Most worryingly, particularly in the context of Tony Abbott’s health cuts are rises in obesity rates, type 2 diabetes, and elective surgery waiting times. The only way these issues will be addressed will be if governments prioritise preventive health and properly plan and resource programs across the health system.
As the Australian Medical Association has highlighted, public hospitals are already stretched to meet demand. The Abbott Government’s $80 billion cuts will cripple the health system.
The report also clearly highlights the damage the Abbott government’s ill-conceived GP Tax will have on the health system, confirming 5.8 per cent of people already delay or avoid GP visits due to the cost. If Tony Abbott gets his way and imposes a GP Tax this rate is bound to rise much higher.
‘The Abbott government’s sledgehammer approach to health will only exacerbate the problems that already exist in the system’ Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said.
‘Tony Abbott should be treating Australia’s hard working doctors, nurses and health professionals with the respect they deserve, not cutting funding and telling them just to work harder’.
‘The report highlights the need for proper investment in health and clearly shows Labor’s investments in health were working and properly directed. By contrast Tony Abbott’s $80 billion cuts to health and education, cuts of $370 million from preventive health and the intention to impose a GP Tax will set Australia’s health system back more than 50 years’.
All the changes by the Abbott government will restrict access to services and reduce capacity in the system now. This will lead to higher rates of obesity and associated disease like diabetes and heart disease, and increase emergency department and elective surgery waiting times.
Tony Abbott lied when he said there would be no cuts to health and now every Australian is going to pay the price.