The public health system is in crisis. The government’s reckless approach to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in thousands of extra hospital admissions. Emergency room overcrowding is the worst it has been in at least 40 years and hundreds of people a day can’t get help. There aren’t enough ambulances to get to those needing critical care. Paramedics, nurses, doctors, allied and other healthcare workers are being asked to try to hold the system together. Burnout is rife – thousands have already quit. And the real wages of hospital workers are going backwards. Meanwhile, private health insurer profits have more than doubled in a year. We need to urgently overhaul the system and provide the required funding to increase hospital capacity, improve ambulance response times, boost health worker numbers and increase wages in the sector.
What we think
- Universal and timely access to comprehensive quality healthcare is a human right.
- Healthcare should not be run for profit. Medical, pharmaceutical and associated research should not be privately owned or operated on a for-profit basis.
- Our health is influenced by social, cultural, political, economic and environmental factors. Healthcare must be preventive, holistic and underpinned by an understanding of the social context affecting presentations of ill-health.
- Mental health is crucial to overall health.
What we'll fight for
- Immediately increase nurses’ and paramedics’ wages by at least 2.5 percent above inflation, and again in 2023.
- Boost the numbers of hospital beds, nurses, midwives, doctors, allied health and mental health specialists.
- Improve nurse-to-patient ratios across all areas and properly enforce them.
- Pay full wages to trainee nurses, paramedics and other healthcare professionals completing placements.
- Expand the ambulance fleet to reduce wait times.
- Make ambulance services free.
- Fully fund at-home care where medically appropriate and beneficial to the patient’s wellbeing.
- Re-establish the Victorian Infectious Diseases Hospital.
- Build new public hospitals in growth corridors, and other areas where needed.
- Put private hospitals in public hands.
- Abolish parking fees for hospital staff, patients and visitors.
Community and primary health
- Extend Medicare and expand the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to properly fund mental health services and prescriptions.
- Campaign against Medicare cuts to Telehealth.
- Fund local councils to build and refurbish sports and recreation facilities.
- Expand the community health sector, to ensure free access to:
- State funded, bulk-billing GPs clinics.
- Dental care.
- Allied health services, including medical imaging, pathology, etc.
- Reproductive and sexual health clinics, providing free access to abortion.
- Mental health services.
- Vaccinations and vaccination education programs.
- Social supports including legal assistance and financial counselling.
- Health promotion and community outreach.
- Establish public quarantine facilities to cope with future pandemics.
- Establish a state-owned pharmaceutical company with the capacity to manufacture medicines, medical supplies and vaccines.
- Put in public hands all assets owned by private health insurance companies.
- Ban the outsourcing of healthcare services.
- Increase public funding for medical and pharmaceutical research.
- Repeal all patent and intellectual property laws that restrict access to medicine, pharmaceuticals and medical technology.