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Coalition's plan to help local hospitals.



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Federal Member for Wannon

Hamilton Office 190 Gray St, HAMILTON VIC 3300 Warrnambool Office 73 Kepler St WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280 Freecall 1300 131 692 E David.Hawker.MP@aph.gov.au W www.davidhawker.com.au

16 November 2007 COALITION’S PLAN TO HELP LOCAL HOSPITALS

Western Victorian residents will benefit from the Coalition’s plan to help take the pressure off local hospitals through restoring local hospital management, providing better alternatives to hospital for people who need care and requiring extra hospital beds to be opened, Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, said today.

“The Coalition will return to local communities control of their hospitals by requiring the State to restore local hospital boards for every public hospital with more than 50 beds and smaller ones if local communities want them,” Mr Hawker said.

“The Victorian Labor government has stripped control of local hospitals away from the staff who work in them and the local community they serve, and they have drowned medical staff in bureaucracy yet failed to deliver better outcomes for patients.

“It is time to restore control of local hospitals to the people who have a vested interest in seeing them perform better - local residents who use and work in them,” Mr Hawker said.

The Coalition has already announced plans to increase the number of Australian-trained doctors, nurses and specialists so that hospitals and medical services have the staff they need.

“And we have a plan to fund 50 Family Emergency Medical Centres to provide family-friendly emergency care, including after hours care, so that people do not have to go to hospital emergency departments for treatment,” Mr Hawker said.

“The Coalition will also ensure that people who need care and support receive the right care in the right place.

“That means hospital care for those who need hospital treatment, including older people in our communities,” he said.

“But for those who no longer need hospital treatment, we need to ensure they can get the help they need to transition out of hospital.

“The Coalition introduced the transition care programme in the 2004-05 Budget with 2,000 places. A re-elected Coalition will provide support for an extra 13,000 older Australians each year to transition out of hospital by doubling the programme to 4,000 places.

“This will ensure they receive the right care in the right place, and it will free up public hospital beds for those who need acute care.”

Mr Hawker said the Coalition would also establish 1,000 new community care places to provide high and low care support for older people in their own homes.

“We will also double capital funding for smaller, particularly rural and regional, aged care homes to ensure they can build and upgrade quickly, and make new high care aged care places available for older people as soon as possible,” he said.

“And we have announced funding for practice nurses to conduct 800,000 home visits to older and frail people and veterans who might otherwise not be able to visit their GP for illnesses or injuries which could then become serious enough to warrant hospitalisation.”

Mr Hawker said these new initiatives would help relieve the pressure on local hospitals.

“A re-elected Coalition Government will negotiate with the State to open more hospital beds, and keep them open,” he said.

“And the State will be made accountable for keeping these extra beds open.

“The Coalition has a comprehensive plan for better health care and hospitals, and we will be able to deliver on this plan through strong and disciplined economic management.

“In contrast, Labor has a clear record of failure. Labor States and Territories have failed our public hospitals. Imagine what would happen to hospitals and health care under wall- to-wall union-Labor.

“As the States and Territories rack up a combined total of $80 billion of debt over five years, Federal Labor is trying to portray itself as economically responsible.

“A union-dominated and inexperienced Rudd Labor government cannot be trusted on health, and it cannot be trusted to manage our $1.1 trillion economy,” Mr Hawker said.

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Media contact: Jane Templeton (03) 5572 1100