Health must be priority for new PM: AMA

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Health must be a priority for the new Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Australian Medical Association has said in congratulating Malcolm Turnbull on his election last night.

“Poor health policy plagued the Coalition following the 2014 Budget, and the Government has struggled to fully recover,” AMA president Professor Brian Owler says.

“The ill-fated GP co-payment and the scrapping of public hospital funding to the States severely damaged the Government’s health policy credentials,’” he says.

“The management of the Health portfolio has improved, but there is still so much to be done to strengthen the health system to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.

“The first task is to lift the freeze on Medicare patient rebates.

“Other priorities include a genuine, transparent consultative approach to the Medicare Benefits Schedule Reviews; the restoration of public hospital funding; a review of the private health insurance system; significant new investment in general practice; and coordinated medical workforce planning.

“The AMA is keen to work with Prime Minister Turnbull on practical solutions to the challenges facing the Australian health system,” Prof Owler says.

The AMA acknowledged the contributions of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, especially his decision to put an end to the plans for GP co-payments, and his commitment to Indigenous health.

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