With an election pending, there has been a lot of noise from the Opposition about potential policies and reforms. In a parallel universe, what would the Australian health system look like if the Coalition was in power?
- Medicare Locals
- GP infrastructure to upgrade primary care facilities
- A national e-health system
- 24 hour GP phone helpline grants
…and using this cash to roll out a $1.5 billion plan to improve mental health services, including:
- 20 new early psychosis intervention and prevention centres
- 60 additional Headspace sites for young people with mental illness
- 800 early intervention beds
Whilst Tony Abbott claims Labor has been inactive in mental health reform, Nicola Roxon was quick to hit back against the proposals, saying national hospital and health reforms will be at risk if Labor is voted out of office
“It’s very important we do not neglect mental health and one of the disappointing aspects of the Government’s health reform proposals is that there’s been so little on mental health.”
“The Coalition’s policy is undermined by the fact it is funded by cutting Labor’s health reforms, such as GP super clinics and e-health.”
What are the stakeholders saying?
The AMA is currently sitting on the sidelines and waiting for further updates on what funding would be left for GPs, whilst the Mental Health Foundation of Australia expects the Federal Government to announce its own mental health reforms in the near future.
Australian of the Year, Professor Patrick McGorry, has called on the Federal Government bring physical and mental health together under a new mental health plan, whilst speaking at the National Press Club last week.
The Coalition said last week they would unveil their primary care policy before the election, in response to concerns about how much (if any) funding would remain for primary care.
With a few months to go until an election, there is plenty of time for further announcements, proposed reforms and complete u-turns, so watch this space!