Medicare broken, says CHA chief

130717 Martin Laverty

Rudd and Gillard Government health reforms have delivered no measurable improvements in national hospital performance, Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty told a conference of health experts in Adelaide yesterday.

Mr Laverty, the head of the nation’s largest network of non-government hospitals and aged care services, argued both sides of politics must commit at the 2013 election to an overhaul of the 30-year- old Medicare system, in light of data showing average emergency department waiting times have improved only marginally and elective surgery waiting times have actually increased over the life of the Rudd and Gillard Governments.

Mr Laverty, representing not-for-profit operators of one in 10 of the nation’s hospital and aged care beds, said COAG Reform Council data shows the average number of people seen in emergency departments within national benchmark time periods had only increased from 67 per cent to 70 per cent from 2007 to 2012, and average elective surgery waiting times in this same period had lengthened from 34 days to 36.

'The most disadvantaged Australians wait even longer for elective surgery.'

Mr Laverty also said separately, in a media release, any reports of unacceptable care – or lack of care – for older Australians should be reported to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme immediately and investigated thoroughly, lest the aged care industry as a whole be tarnished by disturbing stories that appear in the media, the head of one of the nation’s largest network of aged care providers has said.

He was responding to stories aired on ABC’s Lateline program on Monday in which families shared stories of their loved ones’ experiences in aged care facilities. 

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