Waiting for health details

A BUNDABERG patient care advocate has tentatively applauded Kevin Rudd’s health reform, but has warned more detail is needed.

“I’m wary of how it will all be rolled out,” Bundaberg Hospital Patient Support Group president Beryl Crosby said.

Mrs Crosby said the biggest win in the reform was the federal government taking over responsibility for most of the funding.

“The money is a big thing. I think initially this is a good thing and it’s been a big push by consumers. It’s just in the details,” she said.

As a part of the plan, the federal government will take back $95 million in GST revenue from the states and redirect it through a new National Health and Hospital Network.

This will increase the government’s contribution to hospitals from 35% to 60% and mean they take over full financial and policy responsibility for general practice and primary care.

Mrs Crosby said this move could mean a reduction in patient waiting lists.

Gin Gin mother Caroline Michell, who was on a waiting list to receive extensive dental treatment for about seven years, said any reduction in waiting lists would be welcomed.

“It would be such a relief for a lot of people. It was basically frustrating waiting on that list for something to happen,” she said.

Bundaberg District Health Community Council chairwoman Josie Meng said she was unable to comment until more details were released.

“It’s made to sound like everything is wonderful, but we do need to see the detail,” she said.

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said Labor’s policy failed to outline any “practical plan to reduce hospital waiting lists or improve health care”.

“The devil will be in the detail, and it’s the detail we need to be concerned about. Some very serious questions need to be asked, and some very obvious consequences need to be acknowledged,” he said.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said the policy was a “lot of talk”, like Mr Rudd’s 2007 election promise to build a GP super clinic.

“We’ve already got our own Queensland Health crisis so we don’t want to see money heading interstate when it is needed here,” he said.

Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said he could not see “anything practically good for patient care and safety or waiting lists”.

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