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Transcript of interview with Chris Smith: 2GB Afternoons: 26th March 2018: nurses code of conduct; cheaper medicines available for Australian patients

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The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for Health


26 March 2018



Topics: Nurses code of conduct; cheaper medicines available for Australian patients

CHRIS SMITH: Minister, welcome to program.

GREG HUNT: G’day Chris.

CHRIS SMITH: So, these changes, as discussed in the media, as discussed on my program last week, were not actually ticked off by state and territory ministers and yourself.

GREG HUNT: That’s correct and I’ve reaffirmed that only today with the chief nursing officer of the Commonwealth. So the answer is very simple, that at the federal and state level, we don’t control what’s called the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. And our nurses do an amazing job, our midwives do an amazing job.

But this board gets general guidance from the ministers. It operates independently. It went through a public consultation. The states, territories and the Commonwealth provided feedback on that, and then, subsequent to that consultation, a final draft was released and that included these new guidelines that were never brought to the attention of the Commonwealth, as reaffirmed to me only a few minutes ago by the chief nursing officer.

CHRIS SMITH: Well hold on a second. If they’re using you and other ministers of health in state and territories as support for what they want instituted in hospitals, this is tampering with reputation, it’s tampering with official documents, isn’t it?

GREG HUNT: Well, they have a right because they are an independent body. But let me say this, the claim that it was approved or even cited by the Commonwealth is false.

CHRIS SMITH: And as far as this edict about revealing whether you’ve got white privilege or not, what would your response to that be?

GREG HUNT: So my view is that it seems excessive, unnecessary and what should be the focus is patient care and making sure that, at the most critical time, the safety of the mother and child is paramount above all else.

CHRIS SMITH: And the colour of your skin should mean nothing when we’re talking about life and death.

GREG HUNT: I don’t think there can be any doubt about that statement.

CHRIS SMITH: Now, on a separate matter, there are new additions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from 1 April, 11 new drugs I understand. Can you explain what’s happening from today?

GREG HUNT: Yes. So there will be, from the first of April, new drugs available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and that’s, in particular, four for diabetes, including one, Toujeo, which gives a lot longer, higher strength insulin. And that means patients who would be at risk of hypoglycaemia, or are hypo during the middle of the night, will have better care and better treatment, and that’s over 170,000 each year will benefit.

And then you have new cancer drugs for lymphoma, lung cancer, skin cancer, which in some cases will save up to the best part of $100,000 a year. So lifesaving drugs, life-improving drugs are now available for $6.40 or $39.50 under the PBS.

CHRIS SMITH: Alright. Well done on this one and thank you for clarifying the former issue, which got a few people very, very angry last week. Thank you for your time.

GREG HUNT: Thanks, Chris.

CHRIS SMITH: Okay. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.


Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Hastings, Victoria.