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“It’s too important to ignore”- PM Albanese declares healthcare system reform as top priority, vows to work cooperatively with states

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has vowed to work with each state and territory to identify and address the gaps in Australia’s public health system.  

Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, Albanese said his government plans to reinvigorate the healthcare system via a person-centred approach.

“We need to deal with federal-state [health] relations, not in a way that seeks to pass the buck from one section to the other.

“How can [healthcare] work more efficiently with patients at the centre? How can we achieve better outcomes? … For many of these issues the solutions are obvious.” 

At last week’s national cabinet meeting, leaders agreed to work together on short and long-term fixes.

State and territory leaders want widespread problems in aged care, emergency departments and the regional GP shortage to be addressed. 

While Albanese acknowledged that many of the system’s issues cannot be solved overnight, he said that he is committed to working constructively with every premier and chief minister. 

“It’s too important to ignore and my government won’t ignore it,” he said.

The Prime Minister also criticised the withdrawal of funding from telehealth and mental health services, particularly in regional Australia, by the former government.

Joined by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Albanese’s visit to Melbourne marked the announcement of a new $152 million melanoma centre at The Alfred hospital, jointly funded by the state and federal governments. 

This coincides with a campaign launched by Melanoma Patients Australia this week, emphasising the vulnerability of older men to skin cancer.

Labor’s first federal budget in October will provide a specific plan for the health system, but the Prime Minister is tempering expectations. 

“There will always be more demands for infrastructure than can be met in one budget but we … are looking at the comprehensive way in which we can deal with these things cooperatively,” Albanese said. 

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