The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says the Federal Budget lacks vision and fails to deliver on the AMA’s four priorities to inject desperately needed funding into the health system.
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said although the health portfolio had been spared funding cuts, the Government’s focus on cost of living had overlooked quality of life issues, particularly for the nearly 200,000 Australians languishing on hospital waiting lists.
“If you scratch the surface of this Budget, it is easy to see a lack of vision for Australia’s healthcare and a lack of intent to address any of the issues that are affecting our healthcare system right now and which will be increasing problems in the future,” he said at a media conference in Parliament House, Canberra, after the delivery of the 2022-23 Budget on Tuesday evening.
He met with Ministers, Shadow Ministers, MPs and senior bureaucrats in a two-day visit to Canberra.
Dr Khorshid said that the AMA had “four main asks” of the Government in the Budget and none had been delivered.
As set out in its Clear the Hospital Logjam, the AMA is calling for an additional $20.5 billion across for four years to create a more equitable 50-50 funding share between the states and the Commonwealth and removal of the 6.5 per cent growth cap.
Dr Khorshid, speaking about the Primary Health Care 10-Year Plan, said: “Thankfully, there is acknowledgment of the 10-Year Primary Care Plan, but there is no funding to deliver it and yet again General Practitioners will be feeling let down by a government that does not have any vision for healthcare.”
The AMA has called for tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in its #SicklySweet campaign to stem the tide of preventable chronic diseases, however, “there is no sign that it is anywhere in the Budget”.
The AMA’s push for reforms to help ensure the future viability of private health insurance went unanswered.
Dr Khorshid said despite the lack of action in the Budget, the AMA would push the Government to come up with solutions to the health problems affecting the lives of thousands of Australians.
“Seeing the Government has missed the opportunity to address public hospital funding, we are very interested in talking with Labor and hearing what their vision will be to address the public hospital funding crisis,” he said.