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AMA: Mr Rudd: what happened to health?

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Australian Medical Association Limited ABN 37 008 426 793

42 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600: PO Box 6090, Kingston ACT 2604 Telephone: (02) 6270 5400 Facsimile (02) 6270 5499 Website :

AMA: Mr Rudd - what happened to health?

The AMA has called on the Federal Government to urgently explain why health was excluded from yesterday’s mini budget.

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said health should be a high priority on any list of nation building infrastructure development.

“But we didn’t even make the list. Forty two billion dollars - that’s forty two thousand, million dollars of taxpayers’ money - and not a cent will go to the nation’s crumbling health infrastructure,” Dr Capolingua said.

“If they’ve got another health package coming, Australians need to know. If there’s not, the government needs to explain why health is no longer a priority.

“Investment in health infrastructure delivers the same immediate benefits to the economy as other infrastructure projects, stimulating employment and supporting business, but with the added bonus of expanding the nation’s capacity to deal with tough new economic circumstances.

“Financial hardship has a threefold impact on health: it puts extra pressure on the public health system as people are forced out of private cover; it impacts painfully on individuals and families suffering the physical and emotional impacts of financial stress, and it reduces the overall productivity of the workforce.

“Already in my surgery I am seeing more and more patients whose health has been affected by financial stress, people who have lost their jobs, people worried about job security, and others with retirement plans in tatters.

“But the government’s response with this stimulus package has been to totally ignore health.

“Have we missed something here? Is there more to come? The Premiers should be asking the same questions in Canberra tomorrow.

“They already know that last year’s health agreements do not account for today’s circumstances. They also know that investing in health delivers for individuals, communities and national prosperity.

“Why was health left out?

“Australians deserve an explanation.”

2 February 2009

CONTACT: Kirk Coningham 02 6270 5477 / 0417 142 467