The Labor Party has a huge health agenda. What policies should we expect?

Labor’s victory in Saturday’s election heralds a real change in health policy. Although Labor had a strategy with a small goal, with limited major spending commitments, its victory represented a shift in value to a party committed to justice and Medicare, and perhaps a shift in style to a pragmatic, equity-oriented health minister.

Labor’s shadow health minister, Mark ButlerThe new health minister is expected to be subject to a cabinet reshuffle that has caused two Labor shadow ministers to lose their seats.

Butler is very different from his predecessor. He was the first Australian Minister of Mental Health and Aging in the Gillard government. He has also held the ministries of Housing, Homelessness, and Social Inclusion that focus on equity. . has written A book on aging in Australiapublished by Melbourne University Press.

The new minister faces two urgent policy priorities: primary care and COVID.

Primary care reform

Outgoing Health Minister Greg Hunt issued Unfunded strategy paper On a budget night. It was intended to improve primary care – a person’s first point of contact with the health system, usually a general practitioner or nurse practitioners. The paper had been slithering on his desk for months, and it was years after that Consultation and consensus building.

One of Labor’s biggest and most important campaign commitments was nearly A$1 billion over four years Primary care reformabout 250 million Australian dollars in a full year.

Funding commitment is being delivered broadly, promising to improve patients’ access to GP-led multidisciplinary team care, including nursing, allied health care and after-hours care; increasing patient affordability; Better management of complex and chronic cases.

Presumably the main way this will be implemented will be through Voluntary registration of patients. The patient will register with a practice, and the clinic will receive an annual payment for that registration. This was promised to people over 70 in the 2019-20 budget but was not fulfilled.

This new policy is a welcome start to reform in primary care and indicates the importance the Labor government is attaching to this sector.

middle aged man talking

Mark Butler was Minister of Mental Health and Aging in the Gillard government.
AAP photo/Lucas Koch

The Medicare fund promotion Drawn in general terms only before the elections, they provide insight into the new ministerial style. Details of the policy will be clarified in a working group that includes key stakeholders. And most importantly, the working group will be headed by the Minister – not hiding behind the advisers; He or she will hold the hose.

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Reducing COVID deaths

Another critical early challenge for the Minister is to address The continuation of the COVID pandemic.

Coronavirus deaths continue: Three times more people died this year than in the previous two years. The coalition delegitimizes any form of action, including mandates to wear masks and vaccines, as part of its undermining of the state’s public health measures, especially actions by states of action.

The prevalence of third-dose vaccinations, which is necessary for adequate protection from Omicron, is in about two-thirds of the population over 16 years of age, and is much lower in those under 16, meaning that many populations are not protected.

Public hospitals are full of loopholes, and staff are overworked. This needs urgent attention, and the alliance strategy of ignoring it and saying it’s someone else’s problem should be discarded. divorced pledge to “Escalating the National Strategy” late in the election campaign.

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Elderly care support

We hope the shadow workers’ aged care minister, Claire O’NeillYou will continue in this role after the election. She proved to be more than just a match for her unlucky opponent, Richard Kolbeck.

A woman standing to talk to health workers standing behind them

Claire O’Neill has been the Shadow Secretary of Aged Care and liaison with those working in the sector.
AAP photo/Lucas Koch

Work is getting big Obligations in the care of the elderlycreating an important point of difference with the alliance, despite the alliance’s investments in 2021-2022.

In addition to coalition commitments, Labor has promised to cover registered nurses 24/7 in residential aged care facilities, and support wage increases for aged care workers. The latter is especially important because without a wage hike, the sector will continue to be understaffed.

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new approach

Labor will not engage in climate denial or use climate politics as a political wedge.

Recognizing and responding to climate change is important An important issue for the health sector And, of course, society on a larger scale has also shown the boom in teal and the victories of the greens.

Commit to work to create a Center for Disease Prevention and Controlwhich should provide a framework for addressing the social and economic determinants of health.

Labor’s public service policies are likely to be just as important in terms of policy style. The “consultation“That which has flourished under the liberals will be show the doorreplaced by public officials who perform the function for which the public service has always been available to do.

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It is clear that a new Labor government will not be able to meet all of society’s pent-up aspirations in one term.

However, it is disappointing that labor did not adhere to the inclusion of comprehensive dental care – which is critical missing piece Universal health coverage in Australia.

Butler and his colleagues have a huge agenda on their plate. Getting started with primary care is a good first point of focus, because without those foundations in place, the entire system cannot function well.