AMA welcomes Abbott’s policy on health

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AMA (NSW) president Michael Steiner said there were many positive aspects to the package announced by Opposition leader Tony Abbott on Thursday.

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“The announcements today show the coalition is making a serious attempt to respond to the concerns that have been expressed by the AMA,” he told reporters.

He did not rule out the possibility for further announcements and hopes to see an e-health system in the next term of government and cooperative policies on mental health.

“I would have liked to have seen a bipartisan approach on mental health,” Dr Steiner said.

Health ‘chronically under-serviced’

“This is a sector where we really can’t afford political conflict. That section of our health sector is chronically under-serviced.”

Mr Abbott’s key $3.1 billion promise will see 2800 new public hospital beds delivered over four years, in line with the AMA’s recommendations.

Dr Steiner commended Mr Abbott’s announcement to provide $833 million to support GPs and boost Medicare and the funding of the 2800 new hospital beds.

“It’s very important the coalition, if it comes to government, is very proactive in making those beds appear and not just fund ones that the states might decide to open,” Dr Steiner said.

Dr Steiner said he thinks health will now be at the forefront of the campaign but cannot choose a clear winner from the two parties.

“To be honest, there are some aspects of the health agenda where the government seems to have put more thought and resources and more effort into solving problems and there are others where the Coalition is ahead,” he said.