Malcolm Turnbull is badly mistaken if he thinks that his job fixing Tasmania’s health system is over as a result of today’s Mersey funding announcement – the wider damage that has been done to the state by his Government’s savage health cuts hasn’t been addressed today.
Malcolm Turnbull must provide further detail about the deal and guarantee his Liberals aren’t ripping funding from somewhere else in the health budget. There are significant details still to be revealed about whether Braddon has been short changed in this agreement. There are details to be revealed about how consistent this agreement is with existing agreements with other states as well as how adequate this agreement is to meet the expected growth in demand for people in Tasmania’s north west.
Unfortunately, today’s announcement does absolutely nothing to address the health pain that continues to cost Tasmanians every time they access health care – out of pocket costs have never been higher, bulk billing rates have dropped and Australians are waiting longer for surgery.
For years, the Turnbull Government’s GP freeze and health cuts have made health care less affordable for every Australian, hitting Tasmanians at every turn:
- Out-of-pocket costs are higher than they have ever been – with Tasmania seeing the biggest hike in GP out-of-pocket costs in the past financial year;
- Bulk billing for GPs has plummeted almost 2 per cent since the election in the state, forcing people to pay more;
- Tasmanians now have the longest elective surgery wait times in the country – with the median wait time for Tasmanians blowing out by 30 days under the Liberals.
Tasmanians won’t forget that Malcolm Turnbull left the state’s health system in crisis when he abolished funding for the Tasmanian Health Assistance Package – cutting $325 million in funding for palliative care, elective surgery, mental health and emergency departments.
A fly-in, fly-out visit to Tasmania won’t fix the damage that Malcolm Turnbull’s horrible health policies have done – and will continue to do – to the state’s health system. The Mersey hospital is only the beginning of a long-list of tasks to at least get the state’s health care back on track.
WEDNESDAY, 5 APRIL 2017