Pre-election promises aplenty — let’s make sure they are strategic investments and not just pre-election largesse

Monday, March 18, 2019

‘Commitments to investing in public healthcare are welcome, but let’s make sure we’re not throwing new money at old problems’, says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

‘As we count down to the anticipated kick-off of the federal election next month, all political parties have ramped up their health spending announcements. And while more money can help, for example spending on bricks and mortar, new equipment to diagnose, higher rebates for scans and new services like dental care, strategic investment of public funds is what’s needed rather than pot shots of cash and band aid solutions.

‘Medicare and strong public healthcare and hospital sectors are a foundation for universal access to quality healthcare services for all Australians.

‘We know large, structural reforms are needed to deliver better healthcare access and affordability, rather than uncoordinated and piecemeal policy initiatives.

AHHA and Australian health leaders have mapped out how to transform our healthcare system into a fit-for-purpose 21st century system. Healthy people, healthy systems ( is a comprehensive blueprint with a range of short, medium and long term recommendations on how to progressively reorientate our healthcare system to focus on patient outcomes and value rather than throughput and vested interests.

AHHA’s blueprint calls for an independent national health authority, distinct from the Commonwealth, and state and territory health departments, that would report directly to COAG, to tackle the entrenched problems facing our health services and to support better outcomes-focused, integrated care for all Australians.

Regardless of whoever is elected to the 46th Australian Parliament and forms government, all political parties and jurisdictions must work together to build an effective, contemporary healthcare system supporting a healthy Australia.

To achieve this aim, Australia’s healthcare system requires:

  • a commitment to universal healthcare

  • a commitment to equity in health

  • policies to support outcomes-focused, value-based healthcare

  • a commitment to long-term sustainable funding

  • policies to support coordinated and integrated care

  • a commitment to innovation in response to need

  • policies to support a holistic view of health and wellbeing.

AHHA commends Labor’s proposed Australian Health Reform Commission and urges other parties to make the same commitment in order to take the politics and finger-pointing out of health and deliver a better health system for the nation’

More information about the AHHA is available at

To read AHHA’s 10-year blueprint for health system reform, visit:

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, and community and primary healthcare services.

Media enquiries:  Alison Verhoeven

Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

0403 282 501