Thursday, October 16, 2008

Comment on Liberal Health Policy

There is an undeniable and urgent case for the proposed development of the the health services infrastructure in the ACT. This development is essential to meet the projected demands of an expanded population together with an increased proportion of elderly. The Health Care Consumers' Association of the ACT supports the Capital Asset Development Program implemented in the 2008-09 Budget by the present government. The commitment given to this Program by both of the major parties is most welcome.

HCCA has considered the Liberal Party Health Policy and is however concerned that their policy only covers a funding period to 2011-12 and does not detail further funding for the year 2012-13 as the Labor Party policy does. This makes direct comparisons between the costs of the two policies difficult.

It is appears even in the period to 2011-12 the Liberal Party policy provides a lower level of recurrent funding to meet the projected growth for ACT health services of demand and the operation those new facilities scheduled to commence operation during that period. These will include the expanded cancer services and the new neurosurgical operating suite. Using the Treasury costings we estimate the shortage to be in excess of $120m.

Part of the difference can be explained by the number of Liberal Party policy initiatives which only detail expenditure for one or two years, such as the GPs for Canberra Fund, payment for West Belconnen Centre and the suicide prevention strategy. Most of these will require ongoing funding beyond the initial input.

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