Coalition e-health black hole worries AMA

Coalition e-health black hole worries AMA

Summary: Australia's peak medical body, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), has expressed concern over the Coalition's seeming lack of e-health policy.

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update Australia's peak medical body, the Australian Medical Association (AMA), has expressed concern over the Coalition's seeming lack of e-health policy.

Ahead of the 21 August election day, the Coalition this week announced some of its health policies, should it win government. While the AMA welcomed various health initiatives from the party including money for general practitioners and extra hospital beds, it noted there was a distinct absence of any policy in relation to e-health.

"We also note that there is no commitment from the Coalition yet on e-health," said AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce in a statement.

"This is a major concern because, without e-health, we cannot make the best use of existing health care services and avoid errors, duplication and waste."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has previously criticised Labor's $466.7 million investment in e-health in this year's budget and has vowed to scale it back.

In a statement, Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton said that the Coalition was "absolutely" committed to e-health.

"We are committed to e-health into the future. We do strongly support a roll-out of e-health and the funding is there until 2012."

"We don't trust Labor with money; we don't trust them because they have wasted it in every other area," he said. "We will review why Labor has gone nowhere on e-health in three years and whether or not the money is being most efficiently spent."

Updated at 3:00pm, 6 August 2010: comment included from Peter Dutton.

Topics: Health, Government AU

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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