Thursday, 4 March 2010

Media wrap - The papers are full of health and hospitals


POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Health and hospitals

Doctor Rudd orders shock treatment - Kevin Rudd has promised a referendum on health this year unless the states agree to surrender about $90 billion in GST funding so the Commonwealth can take responsibility for most public hospital expenses and meet all outpatient costs – Sydney Morning Herald

Rudd's magic cure: more process – Kevin Rudd has set up a federal election campaign dominated by health, unveiling plans to strip the states of 30 per cent of their GST receipts to fund a federal takeover of state-run public hospitals. The Prime Minister also plans to sideline the states on hospital administration, instead doling out tied grants to new local boards which would deliver services in accordance with strict requirements set in CanberraThe Australian

Hands off our hospitals, Victoria tells RuddVictoria has taken a defiant stand against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's push to seize majority control of public hospital funding, arguing it would deliver no new cash to local patients for four years and could jeopardise some local health services – Melbourne Age

Victoria may gain under 'case-mix-plus' proposal – Victorian hospitals may get extra money if they are located in disadvantaged communities under changes proposed in the federal government's health reform plan – Melbourne Age

The death knell for small hospitals - NSW Health officials warned that as many as 100 smaller community hospitals may become financially unviable under a new payment-per-service model unveiled in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's hospital reform plan yesterday – Sydney Morning Herald

Victorian Premier John Brumby could veto Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's health reform deal – Kevin Rudd is on a collision course with John Brumby over a radical health blueprint that promises to cut surgery waiting times and keep more people out of hospital – Melbourne Herald Sun


Big, bold gamble or unhealthy risk? – Phillip Hudson in the Melbourne Herald Sun writes that Rudd says the nation's hospitals are on the critical list and need radical surgery. His prescription is to get out the scalpel and hack into the states. This is big, bold Rudd. And it comes with a big risk of failure.

Rudd's move healthy - if it works - says Melbourne Herald Sun medical reporter Grant McArthur. The Prime Minister's announcement he is wrenching control of hospitals from the Victorian Government raises more questions than it answers

How it will work - Under Kevin Rudd’s health reform blueprint, the Federal Government would boost its share of hospital funding from 35 per cent to 60 per cent – Melbourne Herald Sun

Tough medicine left for another day – Kevin Rudd sauced his health policy pie with more blokey charm at yesterday's launch, likening the past two years to the tedious but necessary process of sanding the cracks before painting a wall. The operative word is process. That's what was unveiled yesterday: a process that may indeed bring improvements, but certainly as far as patients are concerned won't come overnight, or even for a couple of years – Adam Cresswell in The Australian

A dose of political reality may undo that Ruddy glow – Michelle Grattan in the Melbourne Age says Kevin Rudd has put forward a bold and measured plan for hospitals reform, but he'll have a battle to translate it into reality any time soon.

Doctors welcome primary care takeover but questions remain - Doctors have welcomed the federal government's proposal to take over funding of primary care - seen as the foundation of the health system - but are not convinced it will lead to better access to services for patients or take pressure off hospitals – Sydney Morning Herald

Plan for umpire and networks - The Rudd government's plans for its health reforms rest largely on the establishment of two new structures: an ''independent umpire'' to determine public hospital costs and ''local hospital networks'' – Sydney Morning Herald

Blueprint to set limits on surgery wait times – Patients have been promised the same level of care no matter where they live in the country under a Rudd Government shake-up of the health system – Brisbane Courier Mail


Macquarie Street bypass as Tebbutt resists penalties - The Keneally government publicly gave cautious support to the Prime Minister's proposed health reforms but warned it would not agree to a national system that penalised the state for its comparatively higher wages, larger geographical area and centralised community care through large area health services – Sydney Morning Herald

Wanted: more GPs and waiting times must be slashed - The Asthma Foundation NSW welcomed the reforms, which are expected to see the construction of more multidisciplinary super clinics and money invested in GPs, but called for a reduction in the cost of medications, which was an easy way of keeping people out of hospital – Sydney Morning Herald

Experts see flaws in rewards for thrifty hospitals - Hospitals would be rewarded for reducing spending under the federal health reform plan, but experts say this could distort patients' treatment and may not account sufficiently for differences between states – Sydney Morning Herald


State support is critical – Phillip Coorey believes an upset win to the Liberals at the March 20 South Australian election could be enough to scuttle Kevin Rudd's health reform plan, forcing him to carry out his threat to hold a referendum – Sydney Morning Herald

'Game-changing' moves get support from former critics – Mark Metherell in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that if it reaches reality, the Prime Minister's announcement signals a bigger change to the system than even Medicare 26 years ago. This $90 billion scheme has drawn support from the health experts and even Labor's traditional critics: the Australian Medical Association and the surgeons. That is largely because of the promise of an end to blame shifting and cost shifting but also to exposing the secrets of health funding that have camouflaged waste and inefficiency.

PM scrubs up for his toughest operation - Kevin Rudd has opened his re-election campaign by painting a vision of a shining hospital on a hill. The vision rests on safe political ground, but Rudd has left us with big unanswered questions about how it would work. And we have reason to question the qualifications of the builder – Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald

PM stakes his reputation on big-bang health reform – Dennis Shanahan in The Australian writes that the Prime Minister has produced big-bang reform on health funding that is tailor-made for an election campaign and designed to switch attention from his current political difficulties over the bungled $2.45 billion roofing scheme and broken election promises.

Graphs galore but answers to big hospital reform questions are scarce - We were given a 74-page booklet with colour graphs and tables, but we weren't given answers to the two biggest questions about Kevin Rudd's hospitals revolution - how he will pay for it and how it will end the ''blame game'' – Lenore Taylor gets to the nub of the matter in the Sydney Morning Herald

Gamble on states seeing big picture – David Uren in The Australian says the commonwealth is counting on the states to accept the long-term gains from its health reform to sign away a third of their GST revenue, and is not providing any short-term carrots in return. While the commonwealth has promised no state would be worse off as a result of the reform, some states, including NSW, which use money allocated for health on other priorities, may lose out – The Australian


Kevin Rudd announces GST health plan at National Press ClubAustralia will get an efficient and accountable national hospital system governed by strict standards and managed at a local level, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised yesterday, announcing a historic plan for Canberra to run and fund the network – Adelaide Advertiser

Rudd takes huge health gamble - Kevin Rudd has staked his political future on the biggest change to the health system since the introduction of Medicare, promising to give every Australian faster and better medical treatment – The West Australian


Economic matters

GDP brings call to end spend – The best economic growth in two years is adding pressure on the government to bring its stimulus spending to a sharper end in the May budget – The Australian

Nation's bolting economy leaves GFC in its wake – Financial markets rallied yesterday after Australia's economy left the global financial crisis behind and grew at its fastest pace in two years, amid expectations that investment in the revived resources boom would provide ongoing economic momentum – The Australian

WA push to keep gas and oil royalties – Tony Abbott is being lobbied by his West Australian colleagues to change Liberal Party policy before the next federal election by agreeing to redirect billions of dollars in commonwealth royalties from the state's bounty of oil and gas projects back to WA – The Australian

Full head of steam for Australian economyAustralia has produced another dazzling set of economic growth figures, vindicating this week's interest rate rise and suggesting there are more on the way – Melbourne Herald Sun

Elections

Rann says sorry over barmaid `friendship' – Mike Rann has apologised to South Australian voters and the family of Michelle Chantelois for any distress and disappointment his "friendship" with the former Parliament House barmaid has caused. The Premier's bold and surprising move came yesterday during a televised leaders debate with Liberal leader Isobel Redmond – The Australian

Rann: I'm sorry, Michelle – Premier Mike Rann has used today's election debate to apologise for any "distress" his friendship with Michelle Chantelois caused her or her family – Adelaide Advertiser

SA State Election 2010 debate - both sides happy with a draw – Trying to find a winner in the Great Election Debate is not easy. Even calling it the Great Election Debate is a bit of a misnomer. This head-to-head confrontation between Premier Mike Rann and Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond really solved little for the voters – Adelaide Advertiser

MP finds fans close to home – An election ad praising a state minister as a "hard-working bloke" has been ridiculed - because all the people featured are Labor staff and party members – Melbourne Herald Sun

Political life

A natural leader Abbott may be but, pray tell, to where? – While Kevin Rudd was swotting up for yesterday's big health announcement, halfway across the continent his counterpart Tony Abbott and several companions - including your hapless and directionally challenged correspondent - were contemplating a cold and uncomfortable night – Mark Davis in the Melbourne Age

Political lurks and perks

Federal politicians in bold bid for more salary, allowances – Federal politicians are demanding thousands of dollars more in generous travel and salary allowances in a bid to extend the gravy train, even after they are turfed out of office – Brisbane Courier Mail

Security

Australian police arrive in Israel -  A team of Australian Federal Police investigators touched down in Israel yesterday to begin questioning three dual Israeli-Australian citizens whose identities Dubai police say were used in the assassination of the Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh – Sydney Morning Herald

Israel passports probe 'a waste of money' – An Australian police probe in Israel into the use of forged Australian passports has been branded a waste of taxpayers' money by one of the Middle Eastern nation's most senior former investigators – The Australian

Industrial relations

Unions to push pay equity for women – Unions are considering running cases to lift the wages of the female-dominated aged care and childcare sectors after ACTU president Sharan Burrow yesterday declared "the sky's the limit" for union attempts to increase pay equity across the workforce – The Australian

Development

Push for satellite cities to ease population pressure – Vast satellite cities could be built between Brisbane and the Gold Coast to ease the crippling population pressures threatening southeast Queensland, according to Logan Mayor Pam Parker – Brisbane Courier Mail

Rampant growth threatens market gardens - Therese Sweeney, the artist behind an exhibition that tells the stories of the city's migrant market gardeners is part of a growing movement of people who want to protect the market gardens from the creep of urbanisation.- Sydney Morning Herald

Barangaroo towers breach height limits, says design architect - Almost all the towers in the Lend Lease's proposed $6 billion redevelopment at Barangaroo breach height limits, according to the first publicly available architectural drawings of the scheme – Sydney Morning Herald

Windsor scandal under spotlight – The Victorian Parliament has launched a potentially damaging probe into the Windsor Hotel planning scandal. The upper house inquiry will investigate the leak of a government strategy on the $260 million hotel project, and seek to grill senior staff in Premier John Brumby's office – Melbourne Age

Defence

Aussie army 'bloated' with generals – The number of generals in the Australian army has more than doubled in five years to 25 as the rest of the force grew by just 10 per cent – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Local government

Burnside councillor demands public apology – A Burnside councillor is demanding a public apology from his council after allegations of bullying and leaking confidential information were proved groundless – Adelaide Advertiser

Opinions

This is a healthy interventionSydney Daily Telegraph editorial: It is necessarily complex, for this is a complex area, but at its core is a relatively simple and apparently workable structure based around the reclaiming of state GST revenue to fund fully 60 per cent of hospital costs Australia-wide.

Rudd cure-all must deliverMelbourne Herald Sun editorial: Taking over responsibility for hospital funding across the nation will cure Australia's healthcare problems only if federal control proves to be better than the states in delivering services to patients.

Kevin, we need to talk about you – Gary Johns reckons that if the first term of a Labor government is not to be a complete waste of time then some serious conversations have to take place within the Labor caucus about what it is in government for. In fact, the immediate challenge is to form a caucus around former union officials -- Ferguson, Simon Crean, Bill Shorten, Greg Combet, Richard Marles -- and knock some sense into a Prime Minister who lives on another planet – The Australian

Who's who in the hubris rankings – Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald reckons it hasn't taken long for Kevin Rudd's halo to slip, with his opinion poll ratings sliding not only nationally but in western Sydney. The so-called Howard battlers who returned to Labor last election are becoming disillusioned with Rudd, especially on ''believability'', according to internal Labor polling reported yesterday.

Finance is just the start to fix health - Stephen Leeder, a professor of public health and community medicine at the University of Sydney and director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, concludes that yesterday's proposals are a good beginning to ensuring we have a health system attuned to the special needs and opportunities of the future.

Emerson treads cautiously on small business reform – John Durie in The Australian writes how Craig Emerson yesterday underlined his brilliance at walking through the small business political minefield by saying all the right things without really doing much at all.

Radioactive gasbag – Barry Doyle in the Northern Territory News describes a display of off-handed arrogance by Federal Minister Martin Ferguson that recalled performances of ministers in the Howard government after four terms in power rather than a Government that has lost a lot of its initial sheen and is preparing to face just its second election.

Our Action Man exposed – Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age writes that John Brumby, coming up to three years into his leadership, has a problem, and he knows it.

Insulation fire risk was worse before rebate – writes John Watson in the Melbourne Age

BUSINESS

Toyota's brake crisis not stopping sales - Toyota's global safety woes over sticking accelerators and brake problems have not dented its sales in Australia, with the Japanese brand again topping the charts – Sydney Morning Herald

Car sales revving back to a high gear – New vehicles sales in South Australia were up by almost 21 per cent last month - the biggest improvement of any state or territory - as the Australian automotive market continues to rebound – Adelaide Advertiser

ENVIRONMENT

Power station plans spark pollution fears - The state government has approved plans for two large new power stations, triggering concerns about a further increase in greenhouse gas emissions, especially if coal is used as the fuel – Sydney Morning Herald

Climate pioneer backs tax on carbon, nuclear power – The scientist who first convinced the world that climate change was a problem has backed a Greens' proposal for a carbon tax as the only solution being offered in Canberra. James Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the man dubbed the ''godfather of climate science'', said the emissions-trading model backed by the government was ''a non-solution'', while the opposition did not accept man-made climate change – Melbourne Age

MEDIA

Sex Story Delivers Blow To Underbelly - Yesterday lawyers for Wendy Gaye Hatfield asked the Supreme Court to allow her to preview episodes from Underbelly: the Golden Years, to determine whether she has been defamed and whether she has grounds to stop all or some of the show from going to air – Sydney Morning Herald

Telling my story in Underbelly is just wrong, says former cop – The third Underbelly series is under threat from a star of the real-life version - a former cop who claims she may be defamed by being intimately linked with Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Fielding in broadband policy blast – The government has taken a haphazard approach to its national broadband network policy and Telstra shareholders are paying the price, Family First senator Steve Fielding says – Melbourne Age

‘LIFE

Real estate

Demand but no supply as prices head north - It's a figure to break the hearts of first home buyers: Sydney's median house price is inching towards $600,000 - almost double what it was a decade ago – Sydney Morning Herald


Education

Creationism could slip into science classes - The NSW Board of Studies has explicitly ruled out the teaching of creation theory from the Bible as a science, however it allows the teaching of spiritual perspectives on creation in science classes, as long as they are not dressed up as scientific or used to substitute any curriculum content, such as the teaching of evolution. – Sydney Morning Herald

School scheme lacks IT support – The Rudd Government's promise to equip every high school student with a computer is endangered by disputes over funding and a lack of support for teachers, an advisory body has warned – The Australian

Schools caught in skirmish war gamesQueensland schools are being promoted as "killing fields" as children as young as six roam corridors brandishing model guns in weekend war games – Brisbane Courier Mail

My Uni site to put heat on: Gillard – Education Minister Julia Gillard has admitted her plans to publish information about the performance of every university online will place pressure on vice-chancellors and academic staff – Melbourne Age

Child protection

Agencies swamped by police referrals - Family support agencies are refusing to accept child protection referrals from the NSW Police Service under the new system that was designed to take pressure off the Department of Community Services – Sydney Morning Herald

Cycling

Clover's bicycle crusade runs over business - Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore must have expected universal praise when she opened our city's latest bike lanes in Alexandria on Monday. But while she was riding a bike during Monday's launch, Moore happened upon someone who disagreed – Sydney Daily Telegraph
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