THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery
SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
Member for Blair
7 July 2010
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health, Warren Snowdon has held a health forum in Esk and toured a number of the region’s health facilities to talk about health reform and health issues of importance to the region.
Mr Snowdon joined Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, to meet with community members and health professionals at a forum today at the Esk Library. During his two-day visit he also toured Esk Hospital, the site of the new Ipswich Super GP Clinic and attended an Indigenous Health forum at the Kambu Medical Centre.
Mr Snowdon said the Australian Government is committed to an ambitious reform agenda which will deliver better health services and better hospitals to regional and rural Australia, particularly the Somerset region.
“We recognise that many smaller rural hospitals like Esk face higher staffing and equipment costs, and cannot achieve the economies of scale that large hospitals can,” Mr Snowdon said.
“To ensure that rural hospitals with low patient throughput can continue to deliver vital services, the Australian Government will fund them through block grants, where needed,” Mr Neumann said.
“No rural and regional hospital will be forced to close because of reforms being implemented as part of the Australian Government’s National Health and Hospitals Network,” Mr Snowdon added.
An independent umpire will determine the fair price for services, taking into account remoteness and the particular circumstances and health care needs of people living in rural Australia.
“The independent umpire will determine the best price for services in a particular area; it won’t set country prices with city assumptions,” said Mr Snowdon.
“For the first time, the Commonwealth Government will become the dominant funder of Australia’s public hospitals, funding 60 per cent of hospital activity, new and operational capital, and teaching, training and research costs,” Mr Neumann said.
The Australian Government has an ambitious reform agenda, which includes the commitment to deliver better hospitals and better health outcomes to all Australian families, regardless of where they live. Since coming into office the Government has increased funding for rural health by 65 per cent. The Government will invest $795 million in targeted rural and regional health programs in 2010-11, compared to $483 million in the last full year of the previous government.
In contrast, the opposition plans to cut more than $820 million from the health budget, just as they ripped $1 billion from our hospitals and capped GP training places causing severe doctor shortages in the rural and regional areas. Mr Abbott is simply too much of a risk to have in charge of our health system.
Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Jennifer Howard 0488 076 420
Photos are available from Jennifer