Tony Abbott and Sussan Ley must use today’s meetings with their state and territory counterparts to finally come clean about the Commonwealth’s disastrous cuts to public hospital funding which have devastated their health budgets.
Today, Tony Abbott must tell every Premier and State Minister why he thinks it’s fair to cut $57 billion from hospitals in their states and territories. He must explain why it’s fair that he broke his infamous pre-election promise of ‘no cuts to health, no cuts to education’.
As late as yesterday Minister Ley continued to repeat the lie that the Abbott Government had not cut health funding. To assist the minister, I provide her with the following table, which was provided to Senate Estimates by Treasury.
These cuts are in addition to the $1.8 billion cut from public hospitals over the next four years, and the additional $941 million cut contained in the Mid-Year Budget Review.
These $57 billion cuts was achieved by her government’s decision to trash Labor’s Health and Hospitals Reform accord, agreed by all states and territories.
These historic agreements would have delivered better quality care and were linked to driving efficiency in public hospitals while putting in place a secure funding base for hospitals well into the future.
Yesterday’s AMA report card proved public hospitals are badly in need of this funding, with the number of hospital beds falling and states failing to meet targets for waiting times.
The report makes clear it is patients who will pay the price for these cuts, by waiting longer to get an increasingly scarce hospital bed and longer to be treated in already struggling emergency departments.
As NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird has declared, these cuts are unsustainable, and are simply pushing the long term public hospital costs on to the states and territories, which do not have the capacity.
It’s time for Mr Baird, and his Liberal colleagues to put the health needs of the people of their state before their mate Tony Abbott and take a stand against his hospital cuts and disastrous GP Tax.
And it’s time the Prime Minister and Health Minister stopped lying about what they have done to the health budgets of their state and territory colleagues.