Commonwealth must work with states to make sure health system stays healthy

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has welcomed reports the Commonwealth Government is considering reversing some of the $57 billion cuts to state health unveiled in the 2014 Budget, but has called for more action on developing sustainable, long-term funding for public healthcare.

“A commitment to long-term and durable funding of the health sector must be a priority for the government as it is a priority for all Australians,” AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.

“We welcome media reports today that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering offering the states a four-year improved hospital funding deal and has affirmed a renewed commitment to activity-based funding and a national efficient pricing mechanism.”

“Hospital funding arrangements should be informed by the work of the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, in partnership with the states and territories, and made with due consideration of the impact on patients and on other parts of the health system. A return to negotiation and engagement is welcome.

“The AHHA supports reforms that maintain and enhance the equity, accessibility and sustainability of the Australian health system. While the states have a responsibility to address efficiencies in hospitals, sustainable revenue mechanisms including a proposal to offer the states a share in income tax revenue to fund hospitals beyond 2020 must be considered.

 “The AHHA believes universal access should underpin any reforms to the health system. Health services must be available for all Australians who need them, when they need them, regardless of their level of income or where they live,” Ms Verhoeven said.

“State, Territory and Commonwealth governments need to think past the next electoral cycle and work together to build a health system that is equitable, sustainable, accessible and delivers quality outcomes for all Australians.”

The AHHA, together with the Australian Council on Social Services, Consumers Health Forum, the Australian Education Union, the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition and the Australian Council of State School Organisations, today called on the Federal Government to forge an agreement with the states and territories at this week’s COAG meeting to guarantee critical health and needs based education funding into the long term. The joint media release is available here.

Media enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven

Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

0403 282 501