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2007 Election Statement

AHCRA issued a public statement proir to the 2007 Federal Election, highlighting the need for health care reform. The statement is reproduced in full below. There are other relevant documents and discussion papers produced prior to and during the 2007 election campaign, these are available for you to view and download at the bottom of the page.

The Australian Health Care Reform Alliance (AHCRA) is a collaboration of 43 organisations representing more than 500,000 consumers and health sector workers across Australia.

Since 2003, AHCRA members have been critical of the failure of successive Australian governments to address the inequities in health care access due to costs and the lack of availability of services. AHCRA has also pointed to the failure of governments to cooperate in overcoming the poor coordination of care, the duplication of services and lack of accountability in health care spending that wastes billions of taxpayer-funded dollars each year.

At its two-day National Health Reform Summit in August 2007, a Communiqué was drafted calling on all sides of politics to note the dissatisfaction of AHCRA members at the current inability of the system to provide a sustainable, integrated, equitable and safe health system for every Australian.

The AHCRA Communiqué identified that:

  • Access to good quality health care services is a continuing problem for people who are socio-economically disadvantaged or living in areas with an inadequate health workforce
  • The country’s health workforce is depleted and demoralised
  • Indigenous Australians unjustly continue to suffer Third World health outcomes
  • Largely preventable chronic illnesses are creating a massive burden for the acute health system
  • People in rural and remote areas or with a disability or mental illness are experiencing poorer health outcomes than other Australians.

In the lead-up to the Federal Election, AHCRA calls on all political parties to signify their intent to act on health reform by outlining strategies to rectify these problems.

AHCRA does so in the belief that the cost of doing nothing will be a divided health system and disadvantaged Australians will increasingly suffer poor health and inadequate health care in the longer term.

Evidence suggests that up to 40 per cent of Australians do not get the health care they need when they need it; out of pocket costs are increasing and continue to limit access to care; and many people receive care that is either not needed or is harmful to their health.

AHCRA calls on State, Territory and Commonwealth governments to stop the cost and blame shifting that has characterised the last decade of Australian politics and to reassert a commitment to a tax-based universal healthcare system.

AHCRA expects commitment to a reform program that acknowledges health care as a basic human right and puts the onus on governments to provide a sustainable, equitable system that meets the needs of the Australian community into the future.

AHCRA further urges the major political parties to consider the following key points which members consider essential to effecting meaningful health policy change:

  1. Show vision by developing a coherent National Health Policy that will last Australia for at least the next 10 years;
  2. Conduct a national audit of both health expenditure and needs to ensure future equitable health funding – including the identification of barriers to equity;
  3. Commit to pooling of Federal and State public health funds to address the current inequitable and inefficient funding models, with monies devolving to regions according to need. Such methodology would address national standards, accountability and equity for patients and providers, and provide equity of access;
  4. Acknowledge that the individual consumer is central in the development of health policies that relate to, and deliver services within, the system based on the dictum ‘Nothing about us without us’;
  5. Develop a primary health care driven system, with devolved regional funding for the establishment of primary health organisations where multidisciplinary health professionals would provide primary health care, care coordination, and facilitate integration with the acute sector and the hospital sector; and
  6. Establish an independent health commission to monitor quality and safety standards and outcomes for all aspects of health services, and make public its annual findings.

AHCRA further insists that mainstream parties agree the proposed commission should remain at arm’s length management from government.

Members believes that only a national, independent body would be in a position to provide clarification of the current confusing systems in health, and outline clear responsibilities for all levels of government into the future.

Media Release: Election 2007 Health Scorecard (15 Nov 2007)
Can this election bring affordable, equitable quality services? (Fiona Armstrong, Weekend Austrlian 30 June 2007)
Media Release: Time to get serious about health reform (25 Oct 2007)
Only fundamental reform can save our health system (Fiona Armstrong, Weekend Austrlian 15 Sept 2007)

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