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W3XY BROADCAST. 24 FEBRUARY 1985 (Embargo: 9.00 pm, 24/2/f^^L. ' # Above all else, Australians value their health and thatof their families. For most of this century we have enjoyed one of the best health care systems in the world. But the quality of health care has been severely damaged by the Hawke Labor Government.After a year in operation, Medicare has ensured that real access to adequate health care is the privilege of those with wealth and influence. The public hospital system is in crisis as Labor redirects patients from private to public hospitals through Medicare. And the public system is increasingly unable to cope with the mounting demands.Thousands of Australians who had traditionally exercised freedom of choice to take out private insurance have been forced, through direct Government economic pressure and the sweeping promises of Medicare, to drop that insurance and turn to the public sector. Those very Australians now find that the public hospital system cannot cope.Throughout the nation it is clear that Labor's determination to impose a nationalised and bureaucratic approach to the delivery of health care is causing massive delays and confrontation. In Victoria alone there are now 18,000 people on the waiting list for elective surgery. There's a waiting time of up to three years for hip surgery.Premier Cain, in the midst of an election campaign, has promised additional funds. But Victorians have already had bitter experience of Mr Cain's failure to honour his election promises.In any case, one-off injections of cash are not the answer. The problems are fundamental and band-aids won't work.In New South Wales the public hospital system is bordering on collapse. For more than a year now the Wran Government in collusion with their federal colleagues has stumbled from one crisis to another in health care.The Government's confrontationist stance has generated deep distrust within the medical profession, disrupted the hospital system and denied patients access to a wide range of surgical and specialist treatment. Mr Wran's most recent . . . /2Inquiries: 0 6 2 - 7 2 6 9 9 4


threat to recruit doctors from overseas in a vain attempt to bully the medical profession in New South Wales into submission has clearly backfired. It has brought the possibility of doctors taking supportive action in other states.

Many doctors who have previously been prepared to work within the system to settle their differences are now looking to airing their objections publicly. The elderly and the chronically ill are particularly disadvantaged by the crisis in

health care.

Free public hospital beds are now taken up by those who previously had private insurance, leaving the poor and elderly to join the queues. The long-term sick, many of them elderly, are forced out of hospital or charged massive bills under the iniquitous "35 day rule".

With increased patient case loads, public hospital budgets are being squeezed to the point of inefficiency, poor patient service and loss of staff morale in a bid by Labor to contain costs. Quite clearly immediate action is required to

get health care back on track.

The objective of universal basic health cover can be achieved without the massive changes and disruption which have accompanied Medicare. .

In Government, the Liberal Party will maintain a safety net of universal health insurance, but remove those aspects of Medicare that have proved harmful to the interests of patients and health care workers.

We strongly oppose nationalised health and will work with those in both the public and private sector to restore Australia's health care to its once proud position of world leader.