Labour’s victory in Saturday’s election heralded a real change in health policy. Despite Labour’s small-target strategy and limited big-spending commitments, its victory represents a value shift for a party committed to equity and health care, and likely a shift in style to a hands-on, equity-oriented health minister .
Labour shadow health minister, Mark Butleris expected to be the new health minister, subject to a reshuffle caused by the loss of two Labour shadow ministers.
Butler is very different from his predecessor. He was the first Minister for Mental Health and Ageing in Australia’s Gillard government. He has also served in the Equity-focused Housing, Homelessness and Social Inclusion Department.he wrote a Books on Ageing in Australiapublished by Melbourne University Press.
The new minister faces two pressing policy priorities: primary care and COVID.
Repair Primary Care
Outgoing Health Minister Greg Hunt released a Unfunded strategy document On a budget night. It aims to improve primary care – a person’s first point of contact with the health system, usually their GP or nurse practitioner.The paper sat on his desk for months, the result of years negotiation and consensus building.
One of the biggest and most important Labour promises during the election campaign was to pay primary care reformabout 250 million Australian dollars for the year.
The funding commitments are wide-ranging, promising to improve patient access to GP-led multidisciplinary team care, including nursing and allied health care and after-hours care; greater patient affordability; and better management of complex and chronic conditions.
Presumably, a key way to achieve this is through Voluntary patient registration. The patient will enroll in a practice that will receive annual payments for that enrollment. This was promised in Budget 2019-20 for the over-70s, but not delivered.
The new policy is a welcome start to primary care reform and marks the emphasis the Labour government has placed on the sector.
this Strengthen the health insurance fund Just sketched out roughly ahead of the election and provides insight into the style of the new minister. Details of the policy will be discussed in a working group including key stakeholders. Best of all, the working group will be chaired by the minister – not hiding behind the advisor; he or she will hold the hose.
Reduce COVID deaths
Another key early challenge for ministers will be addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID death toll continues: this year’s death toll tripled from the previous two years. The coalition sees any form of action, including mask wearing and vaccine mandates, as part of its efforts to undermine state public health, particularly in Labor states.
The prevalence of the third dose of the vaccine, which is necessary to adequately protect Omicron, is about two-thirds of the population over 16 and much lower among those under 16, meaning many in the population are not protected.
Public hospitals are overcrowded and staff overwhelmed. This requires urgent attention, and the league’s strategy of ignoring it and saying it’s someone else’s problem must be abandoned.labor swear to “Strengthening the National Strategy” is late in the campaign.
Aged Care Support
Hope Labour’s shadow aged care minister, Claire O’Neal, will continue to hold this post after the election. As it turns out, she’s not just a match for her hapless rival Richard Colbeck.
In addition to the Coalition’s pledge, Labor has pledged to provide 24/7 coverage of registered nurses in aged care homes and support higher wages for aged care workers. The latter is particularly important as the industry’s staffing shortage will continue to exist if wages are not raised.
a new approach
Labour will not engage in climate denialism or use climate policy as a political wedge.
Understanding and responding to climate change is a Important issues for the health sector And, of course, the wider community, as the Teal surge and the Green Party victory proved.
Labour promises to create a Centers for Prevention and Disease Controlwhich should provide a framework for addressing the social and economic determinants of health.
In terms of policy style, perhaps just as important is Labour’s public service policy. this”Consultancy“What flourished under the Liberal Party would be show doorreplaced by civil servants doing jobs that public service has always been able to do.
It is clear that a new Labour government will not be able to satisfy all the pent-up aspirations of the community in one term.
However, it is disappointing that Labour has not committed to phasing out dental care – which is crucial Lack of parts Universal health coverage in Australia.
Butler and his colleagues have a huge agenda. Starting with primary care is a good first focus, because without these foundations, the entire system cannot function properly.