16/04/2018 - 15:00

WA accuses Canberra of health care rip-off

16/04/2018 - 15:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Health Minister Roger Cook says Western Australia is missing out on $1 billion in health funding, and is calling on the federal government to increase the state’s share to reflect its unique challenge of isolation.

Roger Cook says it has cost WA $53 million to plug a gap in residential aged care funding. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Health Minister Roger Cook says Western Australia is missing out on $1 billion in health funding, and is calling on the federal government to increase the state’s share to reflect its unique challenge of isolation.

Mr Cook met with his federal counterpart Greg Hunt last week to discuss what he says is a gap that means WA taxpayers miss out on $277 per person in healthcare funds, compared with the national average.

"It's time for the Canberra rip-off to stop," Mr Cook told reporters on Monday.

"WA taxpayers are having to foot the bill for funding which is not coming to our state." 

Costs of healthcare in WA have more than doubled in the past 10 years, but only 50 per cent of costs are covered by the Commonwealth, compared with up to 65 per cent in NSW.

Mr Cook said it had cost WA $53 million to plug a gap in residential aged care funding, with a further $40 million going to services in remote and regional areas.

"It means people in the bush don't receive the healthcare they need, aged patients don't get the residential aged care they need and it means the WA government has to do the heavy lifting in relation to filling the gaps," he said.

Mr Cook has asked the federal government to invest in projects that will help shift patients into aged care and correct quirks in the current system.

"The feds seem to think a hospital in Launceston is more isolated than a hospital in Port Hedland," he said.

The minister said a statewide GP shortage had reduced payments from the Medicare and pharmaceutical benefit scheme and put greater pressure on emergency departments.

About one-third of all visits to emergency were potentially treatable by a GP, Mr Cook said.

WA has signed up to the Commonwealth's $31 billion hospital funding deal, under which the state will receive an extra $3.5 billion but cap annual growth in federal spending at 6.5 per cent.

Other Labor states have continued to hold out on the deal.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options