AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today that the Federal Budget must be more clever than just tax cuts if it is to provide fairness, fitness, and equity of access to quality health services for all Australians.
Dr Haikerwal said that the Government's reported generosity with tax cuts must be extended to fix the appalling state of Indigenous health.
"Fixing Indigenous health has to be the priority of this Health Budget," Dr Haikerwal said.
"The AMA notes the reports of considerable funding to promote home ownership among the Aboriginal population, which is welcome, but addressing the inequities faced by Indigenous Australians requires broader and more complex solutions.
"We have to look at health and education and housing and sanitation and water with a whole-of-Government approach, in partnership with the States and Territories.
"The AMA believes that this Budget should deliver a minimum $460 million in new funding for Indigenous primary health care programs and services, which should be implemented in tandem with education, social and infrastructure initiatives."
Dr Haikerwal said reported sports programs to fight childhood obesity must be matched by strong action to improve nutrition in the Australian population.
The AMA is calling for the establishment of a National Nutrition Centre, a national nutritional literacy campaign, and a fully independent scientifically-based national nutrition survey.
Dr Haikerwal said medical workforce issues remain significant, with programs and funding needed to improve access to medical services for older Australians and country people, and the AMA is also asking for funding to improve patient access to consultant physician services.
"We want to see a restructuring of Medicare items to allow more efficient use of the specialised services in geriatrics, general medicine, renal medicine, paediatrics, rheumatology, haematology, endocrinology, respiratory medicine, and cancer medicine - all of which are experiencing workforce shortages at a time of increased demand for them in the community.
"In times of economic prosperity, it is incumbent on the Government to put fairness and equity into the health system and to provide a long term vision through promoting better health, fitness and activity in the Australian population," Dr Haikerwal said.