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Issue #1730      May 11, 2016

Budget 2016-17

Health and aged care hit … again

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is dismayed that for the third consecutive year, the Coalition government has neglected to provide adequate funding for health and aged care in the Federal Budget.

The ANMF’s acting federal secretary, Annie Butler, said nurses and midwives are disappointed that once again the government has not respected their work enough to provide them with the resources they need to deliver quality care to their patients.

“After the government previously slashed $57 billion from the country’s public health funding, the $2.9 billion being promised in the Budget for health won’t go anywhere near ensuring that the states and territories’ hospitals can operate effectively and efficiently, it’s like putting a band aid on a severed limb,” Ms Butler said tonight.

“When this government was elected three years ago, one of its first acts was to abandon the $1.2 billion allocated for aged care wages and training and again, this Budget offers nothing to restore that, at a time when there’s a shortfall of 20,000 nurses to care for elderly, vulnerable Australians. Even the funding pledged for dental care is a sham, reportedly funding 400,000 fewer places on the depleted public dental scheme.

“Day in, day out, frontline nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing are witnessing growing inequities in health and aged care, which continue to compromise the care they can deliver to their patients. But how can they care, if the government doesn’t care?

“As we’ve seen, the government has neglected to strengthen Medicare and provide an adequate level of funding which would support nurses and midwives working in under resourced public health settings and guarantee their high standard of care delivery.

“Australians already suffer one of the highest out of pocket costs for healthcare anywhere in the world and this will only worsen with the government continuing to reduce rebates for a range of services and privatising parts of Medicare – cynically shifting the cost burden onto consumers.

“We understand the nation’s healthcare costs are increasing as the population grows, but this Budget shows that the government lacks genuine commitment to building a stronger and healthier society. The ANMF believes sustainable public health services could be achieved by creating a system which is evidence based and cost-effective.

“Our message to Prime Minister Turnbull is clear, if you don’t care about giving nurses and midwives the resources to run our hospitals and health services properly or to care for our elderly properly, we can’t care properly.”

Ms Butler said the ANMF will be launching a new public information campaign in the lead-up to the expected July 2 election – focusing on the crucial issues impacting nurses and midwives and the Australian healthcare system.

Next article – Culture & Life – Crime and punishment

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