21 July 2010

Gillard confirms Labor's commitment to health

After unwarranted criticism that the Gillard government had gone soft on the issue of health and health reform, the Prime Minister has been swift to assure Australians that she is committed to a building a 21st century health system.

Speaking at the NSW Nurses Association Conference in Sydney, Prime Minister Gillard re-iterated the Governments plans to re-build a national health and hospital system that includes:
  • rolling out 1,300 new sub-acute beds across the country,
  • delivering 23 GP Super Clinics and upgrades to around 425 GP practices,
  • improving after hours care through a 24 hour helpline that provides access to a nurse or GP over the phone – weekdays and weekends, and
  • investing in the training and upskilling of the health workforce.
"Our health reforms are about moving Australia forward to a health system that can meet the needs of Australians in the 21st century", Ms Gillard stated at the Conference.

"These reforms are the most significant reforms to the health and hospitals system since the introduction of Medicare".

The Prime Minister was quick to remind delegates that as one of Australia's longest serving Health Ministers, Tony Abbott had stripped $1billion from the health system and had capped the number of trained health professionals.

"Mr Abbott’s funding cuts took away the money needed to pay nurses overtime, and then WorkChoices sought to take away their right to overtime altogether", she told delegates.

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