Local doctors left out

MEMBER for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has cast doubt on the expectation that North Coast doctors and nurses will be allowed to play a key role in the Federal Government’s new hospital networks.

The Federal MP said State bureaucrats will retain their grip on the ailing health system.

“The revelations are detailed in the COAG agreement signed by the states and the Commonwealth and have been exposed at a Senate inquiry,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“The COAG agreement signed with the states is clear. Mr Rudd and the Labor premiers are only prepared to allow clinicians external to a local hospital network onto that network’s governing council.

“This will restrict the capacity of all hospitals to respond to the need of their communities, but it will particularly hurt smaller regional hospitals.

“Hospitals such as Bellingen, Maclean, Macksville, Coffs Harbour and Kempsey need to have representation on these networks to ensure that a local clinical perspective is provided to the networks.

“If the network’s governing council is going to choose what services are delivered at these local facilities, it’s essential they receive some clinical input from those who are working locally on the ground.”

Mr Hartsuyker said a senate inquiry had lifted the lid on the way the new hospital networks will work.

“The Australian Medical Association told the senate inquiry that the states could remain firmly in the ‘driver’s seat’ in health,” he said.

“The AMA president, Dr Andrew Pesce, said there were concerns that nothing would change – that everything could remain the same.

“Dr Pesce reiterated comments in the AMA submission that the intergovernmental agreement ‘will not end the blame game’, but instead merely provide different opportunities to undermine the ‘game’.”

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