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Prime Minister reveals hospitals reform -

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ELEANOR HALL: Let's cross now to the National Press Club in Canberra where the Prime Minister has
just begun making his long awaited announcement on his plans for a federal takeover of hospital
funding.

Federal Cabinet signed off on the plan this morning.

Kevin Rudd and his Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, then spent much of the rest of the morning
phoning the Premiers and Chief Ministers and their health ministers to inform them of the details
of package.

And now the Prime Minister is announcing his plans publicly at the Press Club.

KEVIN RUDD: Where local professionals, with local knowledge are given the necessary powers to
deliver better hospital services to their local community. To fund this network, the Australian
Government will take around one-third of the GST revenues and place it in a new national hospitals
fund to be spent only on health and hospitals.

The Australian Government will take on the dominant share of the future funding demands of the
system. At the moment, we pay around 35 cents in every dollar of public hospital growth funding.
Under our reform plan, we'll be funding around 60 cents in the dollar.

This is a comprehensive package that I'll put to the states and the territories when we meet as the
Council of Australian Governments on the 11th of April.

My message to them is simple. Work with the Australian Government; work with doctors, nurses and
other health professionals of Australia who want reform. Work with the clinical leadership of our
local hospitals who also want reform and together deliver better hospitals and better health care
for all Australians.

If the states and territories do not sign up to fundamental reform, my message is equally simple.
We'll take this reform plan to the people at the next election, along with a referendum, by or at
that same election to give the Australian Government all the power it needs to reform the health
system.

The Australian Government's position is clear. It also gives effect to my commitment to the
Australian people at the last election. Health and hospital reform cannot, must not, and will not
be put off to some distant point in the future. It must begin now.

The purpose of our plan is simple. It is this: better hospitals and better health care for all
Australians. This is the single purpose of the new Australian health and hospitals network that we
are announcing today.

We'll deliver on this commitment by establishing a national network that is funded nationally and
that is run locally. Our plan deals with the reasons why so many Australians seem to fall through
the cracks in our current health system.

I share the frustration of patients - I share the frustration I have heard from our doctors and
nurses. I have heard these stories in hospital after hospital right around the nation. There is too
much blame and fragmentation making it hard for patients to work out which level of government is
responsible for the care that they need.

Too many patients are receiving uncoordinated care because of the lack of integration between our
hospitals and out of hospital services. Too many mums and dads can't find proper health care for
their kids if they happen to get sick out of normal business hours, which in my experience they
tend to do.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the Prime Minister announcing his plans for health care reform at the
National Press Club. He's doing that live at the moment.