Health reform focus financial, doctors say

DOCTORS have welcomed the finalisation of the Federal Government’s health and hospital reforms but warned the deal is far from perfect and is more about financial, rather than system reform.

WA Premier Colin Barnett ended a 15-month stand-off with the government when he announced yesterday the state would back the deal, clearing the way for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to sign off on the multi-billion dollar agreement today.

Under the deal, the Federal Government will pay for up to 50% of public hospital costs from 2014–15, providing an extra $16.4 billion to the states in the first six years and $175 billion by 2030.

Yesterday’s agreement from WA depended on the government scrapping some aspects of the original plan, announced 18 months ago under former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, including offering public hospital elective surgery patients a private bed if they had to wait too long for an operation.

Ms Gillard