Healthcare will get an experienced, powerful leadership in the coming term of government. Our new Minister for Health, Peter Dutton has demonstrated creative initiative and expertise during five years in the shadow portfolio, earning him a warm welcome from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Mr Dutton’s role will be reinforced by a Prime Minister who also has the insight of four years as Health Minister. Tony Abbott wrote a pre-election letter to pharmacists, reaffirming the Coalition’s commitment to maintaining the current model of community pharmacy, referring to pharmacist ownership of pharmacies as ensuring that “community pharmacy remains focused to the needs of patients”.

The Coalition’s Policy to Support Australia’s Health System reflects a wider plan to reduce red tape by giving more independence to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), and facilitating the process of adding medicines to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by allowing the Health Minister to authorise recommendations of the PBAC costing up to $20 million in any of the first four years of listing.

Another aspect of red tape reduction will be to work towards a paperless prescription environment, while also reviewing “Labor’s protracted, costly and ineffective implementation of its Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.”

Healthcare wide incentives include:

  • Restoring the Private Health Insurance Rebate
  • Implementing activity-based funding for hospitals
  • More community involvement in the management and responsibility of local hospitals
  • Reviewing the structure and funding of Medicare Locals to support frontline services
  • Strengthening primary care by expanding teaching and supervision in existing general practices
  • Creating more medical internships, and nursing and allied health scholarships for areas of need
  • Training, career support, and information resources for up to 12,000 mental health clinicians
  • Streamlining research grant applications to the National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Earlier roll-out of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme, and
  • A new National Diabetes Strategy and $35 million towards curing Type One Diabetes.

The Coalition understands how destabilising Labor’s unpredictable program changes have been, and guarantees genuine consultation with business, the community, and not for profit sector before introducing any regulation or legislation. We look forward to this new government supporting Australia’s health system and implementing its promises.

References:

  1. Abbott A. Letter to Pharmacists. 3 Sept 2013.
  2. Abbott A. The Coalition’s policy to improve mental health [Press Release]. 30 Aug 2013.
  3. Abbott A. The Coalition’s policy to support Australia’s health system [Press Release]. 5 Sept 2013.
  4. PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia. Key focal points of the new Abbott Government: Client Report. 12 Sept 2013.

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