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Australian PM announces funding for health system overhaul

Canberra, April 28 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced a major overhaul of the country’s health system.

Following a meeting with state and territory leaders on Friday, Albanese revealed a 2.2 billion Australian dollar (1.4 billion US dollar) package to reform Medicare, the country’s universal health care scheme, Xinhua news agency reported.

Under the plan, which is aimed at relieving pressure on hospitals, the nurse and paramedic workforce will be boosted, doctors incentivised to stay open later to improve after-hours medical care and pharmacists will play a greater role in the health system.

The measures also include investing in digital health to improve health outcomes.

Unveiling the package, Albanese said that health would be “front and center” for his government in 2023.

He said this package of measures will address immediate challenges in primary care, take pressure off the hospital system, and lay the foundations for long-term Medicare reform.

A report published by peak doctors’ body the Australian Medical Association (AMA) on Friday found that Australia’s public hospital performance is at its lowest level in over a decade.

Steve Robson, president of the AMA, said it was encouraging that governments across the country were prioritising health.

“So the first thing is we need acknowledgment from our leaders and a commitment to reform in the way public hospitals are funded and run,” he said.

“National Cabinet today is the ideal opportunity to look at funding models and also to look at keeping patients out of hospitals by improving access to general practice and primary care.”

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