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AMA Victoria congratulates new Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

Thursday 4 December

AMA Victoria congratulates newly appointed Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley.

Big tasks ahead, incl. public hospital bed count and building the Western Women’s + Children’s Hospital and the Victorian Heart Hospital

AMA Victoria congratulates Jill Hennessy and Martin Foley on their respective ministerial appointments.

“AMA Victoria looks forward to working closely with Health Minister Hennessy to secure the long-term future of the Victorian health system. We are particularly supportive of the new Government’s commitment to undertake a public hospital bed count and expand health services in the western and eastern growth corridors,” President of AMA Victoria, Dr Tony Bartone, said today.

“Collaboration and consultation with the medical sector is vital, as health policies made without this are often riddled with impracticalness and face strong opposition from those working at the coal face – you only need to look at the Federal Government’s GP co-payment plan to see this,” Dr Bartone said.

AMA Victoria hopes Labor to address these key four health issues which they remained silent on while in Opposition:

  1. Tobacco reforms – we hope that Labor follows through on the former Government’s promise to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas. Victoria is the only state that has not banned (or committed to a date to ban) smoking in outdoor dining areas.

  2. Prescription drug overdoses – we hope that Labor introduces a real-time prescription monitoring system, as currently there a more fatalities from the misuse of pharmaceutical medications than on the state’s roads.

  3. Improved health IT resources – we cannot keep relying on faxes for patient information. Secure Messaging needs to be introduced.

  4. Publish outpatient waiting lists – this issue has been considered too hard by successive Victorian Governments. We need to know how many people are truly waiting for elective surgery – this includes waiting to see a specialist and waiting for the operation.

Labor’s pre-election health commitments were vast and included:

  • Build Australia’s first stand-alone cardiac hospital, the Victorian Heart Hospital
  • Expand cardiac services at Ballarat Hospital
  • Expand services at Casey Hospital
  • $200m to build the Western Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Sunshine
  • Build a comprehensive breast cancer centre at Maroondah Hospital
  • Build an 12-bed ICU unit at Angliss Hospital
  • Increase funding for medical imaging at Monash Medical Centre, Moorabbin
  • Work with Melbourne hospitals to address expensive parking costs
  • A $25m genetics program to help diagnose sick infants and children
  • Rebuild Orygen Youth Health’s research facility in Parkville
  • Develop a 10 year Mental Health Plan for Victoria
  • Seek advice from the Victorian Law Reform Commission on medicinal cannabis
  • Evaluate the healthcare needs for the growing population in West Gippsland
  • Re-introduce a free Whooping Cough Vaccination for all parents of newborns
  • $15m towards skin cancer prevention
  • Deliver an “Ice Action Plan”
  • Require hospitals to publicly report on violent incidents
  • Conduct a state-wide census of public hospital beds and theatre capacity, and allocate $200m for the “Beds Rescue Fund”
  • $20m to reduce violence in hospitals
  • Introduce new laws on Advance Care Directives / patients’ end of life choices

At this point, AMA Victoria opposes Labor’s plans to:

  • Fund 24hr “Super Pharmacies” which will have a night nurse triaging minor health concerns. We would much rather see this money directed towards expanding After-Hours GP clinics.
  • The $46.2m pilot program to put GPs in high schools. The details to this policy are unclear.

Media contact: Felicity Ryan 0437 450 506 or felicityr@amavic.com.au

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