The Albanian government has released its first budget, with total spending of $104.1 billion on health care and $30.6 billion on care for the elderly.
A $2.9 billion package will drive the overhaul of Australia’s primary health system. “Medicare will be strengthened, reaffirming its integrity and intent as the cornerstone of the health system,” Mark Butler, MP, health and aged care minister, said in a statement.
To reduce the burden on the hospital system, the government will create 50 Medicare urgent care clinics.
“Funding of $235 million between 2022 and 2023 will support the start of roll-out, including $100 million over 2 years from 2022 to 2023 to co-develop and pilot innovative models with states and territories to improve care and awareness pathways on the deployment of the emergency care program. . “New GP grant program will give local GPs a much-needed boost and improve care ($229.7 million)”.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said the federal government’s $980 million investment in the general practice budget was a welcome fulfillment of election commitments, but warned that with the health system under so much pressure, the budget for May 2023 should put healthcare front and center.
AMA President Professor Steve Robson said: “The Government has committed $750 million to its Strengthening Care Fund to support the recommendations of the Working Group on Strengthening Care, which must be implemented by the end of this year. We are delighted to see the government planning to quickly deliver $229.7 million in GP infrastructure grants of up to $50,000 each, which will support general practice to increase digital capabilities, invest in infection control and meet accreditation standards.”
The AMA also welcomed the Government’s $143.3 million commitment to support access to health care in rural and regional areas.
Other key health-related budget points include:
- $39 million in funding to increase the number and consistency of diseases tested for in newborn blood spot screening (NBS) programs. $5.9 million in funding to promote women’s health during and after pregnancy will be bolstered by updated clinical guidelines for pregnancy care and new pregnancy care guidelines. Investment in a new national network of perinatal mental health and wellbeing centers ($26.2 million) and families affected by stillbirth will receive more support ($13.9 million).
- Funding for a number of mental health and suicide prevention initiatives, including the expansion of the Headspace network ($23.5 million). A national consultation will begin to explore the unique health issues and barriers to accessing health care faced by LGBTIQ+ Australians ($1.3m).
- Establishing the National Health and Climate Resilience Unit and developing Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy with $3.4 million in funding.
- $314.5 million in funding to help improve the health of First Nations people and take immediate action to support our commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart by making real improvements in health.
- Funding to address chronic diseases that disproportionately affect First Nations people. Funding to fight high-risk rheumatic heart disease will increase to $14.2 million. Renal services will be improved with $45 million in funding for 30 four-chair dialysis units in 30 centers. The government will build a dedicated Birthing on Country Center of Excellence in New South Wales to provide culturally safe care and comprehensive support services for First Nations families ($22.5 million). We know this is critical to improving long-term health and development outcomes for First Nations.
- Cheaper medicines for Australian households. For the first time in its 75-year history, the maximum cost of common scenarios under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will fall. From January 1, 2023, the maximum co-payment of $42.50 will drop to $30 ($787.1 million).
- Funding to address workforce shortages, particularly outside capital cities, with new investment in preventative health and improved mental health support. The $185.3 million rural workforce package will attract, support and retain more physicians and allied health professionals in regional and rural communities, including new funding for the successful Innovative Care Models program ($24.7 million). Incentive payments of up to $10,500 will be available to GPs and rural generalists with advanced clinical skills to practice in rural and remote communities ($74.1 million). More healthcare workers will be eligible for wage support through the Workforce Stimulus Program ($29.4 million). There is $5.6 million to expand the John Flynn Doctor Training Program to more than 1,000 places a year in rural Australia by 2026. Rural health in North Queensland will get a boost with 20 new Commonwealth-funded health training places at James Cook University ($13.2 million).