The Turnbull Liberal Government will take a knife to the health and aged care workforce despite shortages affecting vulnerable communities across Australia.
Despite promising new leadership, Malcolm Turnbull will cut $595 million from health and aged care workforce programs.
These are cuts even Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey didn’t go near.
The Turnbull Liberal Government will cut the Clinical Training Fund and Rural Health Continuing Education Program (RHCE), the Aged Care Education and Training Initiative, and the Aged Care Vocational Education and Training professional development programs, which will cease altogether.
The RHCE Program has been has been successful in filling gaps in development in rural and remote areas.
The cuts to aged care workforce development come days after the Government released its much-delayed stocktake of workforce development initiatives. It goes to show that the stocktake was more about cost-cutting than developing a comprehensive strategy to address the workforce crisis.
Workforce shortages in the face of increasing demand are considered one of the key issues facing the aged care sector – something the Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed to recognise or address.
The latest round of cruel cuts come as remote, rural and regional communities continue to suffer from a chronic shortage of doctors, nurses, specialists and aged care workers in many parts of the country.
The Government has long ignored the ongoing viability of medical practices outside of our major cities.
Many rural medical practices operate on tight margins and struggle to meet demand. As a result of these shortcomings people in rural areas are more likely to be admitted to hospital for problems that could have been prevented or better managed by their local GP.
This latest slap in the face via MYEFO follows the Coalition’s axing of Health Workforce Australia and harsh cuts to:
- The Prevocational General Practice Placement Program
- The Health Portfolio Flexible Fund which includes the Rural Health Outreach Fund
- The Dental Relocation and Infrastructure Support Scheme
- Health workforce scholarships
- The Aged Care Workforce Development Fund
- Aged Care Workforce Supplement
The Government’s war on Medicare has now been complemented by an attack on health professionals and the health workforce of the future.
Two years ago this government robbed low-paid aged care workers of the $1.2 million Aged Care Workforce Supplement and gave it directly to aged care providers. The Government has effectively ripped away this funding altogether through successive cuts over the past two years.
Malcolm Turnbull promised new leadership but has continued Tony Abbott’s record of ignoring experts and hacking away at health and aged care workforce funding.