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Greens push for ongoing health reform negotiations

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 12 May 2010

The Australian Greens are urging the Government to continue negotiations which would expand the $7.3 billion health reform package by including overhauls to aged care, dental and mental health services.

"The Greens will continue to promote sensible and constructive action, expanding the Government's plan to see long awaited reforms for the aged care sector, action on mental health and the implementation of a national dental health care system," Australian Greens Health Spokesperson Rachel Siewert said today.

"We have developed mental health initiatives which will address many of the key concerns raised by mental health experts and look forward to productive discussions with the Government.

"Our reforms would see action taken both within our hospitals and throughout the community, with a real focus on youth and early intervention programs.

"Experts agree we are the only party with a credible mental health plan. It's time for the Commonwealth to take a good look at it if it is serious about reforming Australia's troubled health system.

"Our current aged care system is dysfunctional and without urgently needed reform it will be unable to meet the growing demand for aged care services and support.

"There is a serious crisis in aged care and this represents a worrying gap in the PM's health plan.
"There are growing numbers of elderly people in hospital acute care beds because they cannot find residential aged care or access the care and support they need to return home. The Government's plan does not address the fundamental change needed on this issue.

"Dental health is essential to good physical health and emotional well-being, but there are more than 500,000 people on dental waiting lists in Australia. A universal dental care scheme, operating as part of Medicare would make significant improvements to this area.

"We will be carefully reviewing the Government's proposals for Medicare Local to ensure that primary health delivery is actually improved.

"Focusing on primary and preventive health and providing better community care can deliver better health outcomes for Australia and ultimately result in significant savings for the hospital system," concluded Senator Siewert.

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