Launching the Territory Labor Health policy position paper, Healthy, Strong Communities, Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Health Minister, Lynne Walker, pledged to make significant inroads into health promotion, prevention and early intervention services to reduce the high rates of chronic disease associated in the Northern Territory.
“Territory Labor will seek to tackle the big issues affecting the health of Territorians and we will do so in consultation with Territorians,” Ms Walker said.
“This position paper builds on the long term approach that was outlined in Territory Labor’s Early Childhood and Remote Housing position papers released last year. We know that we have to invest better and smarter across our health services and improve housing environments in remote communities, otherwise we won’t make inroads into closing the gap on the health of Territorians.”
“That’s why this Health position paper outlines targets for a child and adolescent health plan, with a particular focus on reaching those vulnerable children in out of home care, youth detention or crisis accommodation.
“Territory Labor will invest significantly into our health workforce, supporting skills development, building career pathways specific to our health requirements and supporting specialisation in nursing, Aboriginal Health Practitioners and Aboriginal Community Workers.
“Territory Labor has already committed to 500 scholarships to train local nurses, police and teachers as the backbone of all communities as part of our Jobs Plan released two weeks ago. Our partnerships with the tertiary sector will be critical in delivering on the health needs of Territorians.
“We know that planning needs to start now to replace our ageing Royal Darwin Hospital. We will finalise detailed business planning in our first term, along with supporting master planning for all hospitals in the Northern Territory.
“Territory Labor will incorporate major capital works as part of our 10 year infrastructure plan, supporting local jobs and investment. Our capital works and equipment replacement program will be driven by clinical and population health needs, not politics. This includes:
“A Territory Labor will drive down elective surgery and emergency department wait times by finishing the delivery of the Palmerston Hospital, and investing in strategies such as improving our information systems, role redesign and partnerships with the broader health sector to reduce demand.
“We will support the expansion of aged care places in partnership with the private sector, as a way to improve the availability of places for our elders and reduce bed block in our hospitals. We will consider a nurse to patient ratio in aged care settings to improve the quality of care in our aged care facilities.
“Territory Labor will implement key recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiries into Youth Suicide, Ice and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder that have not been progressed and support the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
Partnerships will be a feature of Territory Labor’s approach to delivering health services:
“NGOs and peak body organisations are at the frontline of supporting Territorians to lead healthy lifestyles. It just makes sense to ensure Government has strong partnerships with these organisations,” Ms Walker said.
Media contact: Gino Luglietti – 0401 119 794
The chaos and dysfunction in the Giles CLP Government is having a serious impact on the health of Territorians, Shadow Minister for Health Lynne Walker said today.
Ms Walker said the failure of the CLP Government to meet critical deadlines in Federal funding agreements meant vital health infrastructure was delayed and millions of dollars was being put at risk.
“The CLP is too concerned about turmoil in its own ranks to get on with the job of governing the Territory,” Ms Walker said.
“The recent revelations about the delays in constructing remote area health clinics, on top of the bungling over the Palmerston Hospital, show the CLP is failing to deliver for Territorians.
“The Government refuses to admit problems, despite the completion of only one of 11 remote area clinic builds and upgrades.
“These aren’t even CLP projects. The $50 million package was first announced under the previous Labor Government in 2011 and the CLP only managed to get around to signing off on the project agreement in August last year.
“Construction of Ngukurr health clinic was originally due to start in 2013 but still hasn’t commenced while the Canteen Creek clinic upgrade was announced in May 2011 but the tender only released in November last year.
“Under Labor we saw upgrades to the ED departments at Alice Springs, Royal Darwin and Tennant Creek.
“The CLP failed to deliver a promised $13 million upgrade to the 30 year old Gove ED unit and, shamefully, returned to the Commonwealth $5 million to build a 12 bed medi-hostel at Gove Hospital for remote patients saying it “wasn’t needed”.
“They are still dithering over the $10 million available since 2013 to support dialysis patients with confusion over whether this funding will be spent on putting more services in towns or delivering dialysis in the bush.
“A recent audit report found that last year the CLP Government couldn’t meet agreed milestones and lost an expected $2.5 million in Commonwealth funding earmarked for the Top End Hospitals Networks.
“Territorians continue to suffer and the CLP continues to fail us.”
Media contact: Louise Connor 0438 241 211
Shadow Minister for Health, Lynne Walker, said the CLP continues to ignore calls for an urgent review of clinical practice employed in the CLP’s Alcohol Mandatory Treatment (AMT) program.
“Calls for an urgent review have been supported overnight by the Australian Medical Association who said that many questions remain about the standard of care available to patients in AMT,” Ms Walker said.
“The recent death of a patient in AMT has highlighted the need for urgent review of the medical support necessary to underpin the AMT program.
“The CLP has always sought to dress up AMT as a health service but won’t show how health outcomes are being delivered.
“Even the Health Department says on its web site that evaluation as the program is implemented will be critical.”
Ms Walker said what is needed, right now, is an independent medical review whose Terms of Reference include assessment of:
“Earlier this year Minister for Health, Robyn Lambley, said a review of the health outcomes of AMT would come later this year. The only evaluation to date has been a survey of views about the AMT legislation,” Ms Walker said.
“The year is nearly over and still no sign of any support for a proper clinical review of the AMT programs being delivered at a huge cost to Territory taxpayers, with $27m provided for AMT last year and a further $28.3m budgeted for 14/15.
“Territory taxpayers deserve to know that they are receiving a proper return on that investment of public funds and that the medical services being provided are both appropriate and adequate to meet the health objectives of AMT.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Health, Nicole Manison, today welcomed the opening of the Medi Hotel at Royal Darwin Hospital but criticised the CLP Government for causing two years of bed block by using the facility for drunks.
Ms Manison said the 100-bed Medi Hotel facility was funded by Labor in 2011 and specifically designed to improve patient care and relieve pressure on beds and Emergency Department waiting times in Royal Darwin Hospital.
“Disappointingly Territorians, for two years have been denied the extra beds built to support patients with pre and post hospital treatment as the CLP Government used the facility to house their Mandatory Alcohol Rehabilitation.
“This took 100 beds out of the RDH system which has seen doctors and nurses struggling with unacceptable levels of demand and patients waiting for desperately needed beds.
“Emergency Department wait times and bed block have plagued RDH as a result of the CLP Government’s failed policy decisions.”
Ms Manison said that the CLP Government needed to announce exactly when the remaining Medi Hotel beds will be available.
Labor Candidate for Casuarina, Lauren Moss, said residents in the Casuarina electorate continue to raise concerns about the CLP Government’s $11million cuts to the Territory Health budget and parking chaos at RDH.
“We have been calling on the CLP Government to stop charging parking fees for their failed parking meters and reimburse Territorians who have been fined,” Ms Moss said.
“The CLP continue to ignore the concerns and Territorians deserve a Government that invests in health as a priority rather than add to the burden with chaos.”
Shadow Minister for Health, Nicole Manison, is calling on the CLP to shut down the bungled parking payment system at Royal Darwin Hospital.
Ms Manison said the CLP Government had admitted the car park payment system at Royal Darwin Hospital was a mistake and should do the right thing and shut it down.
"Every day Territorians are paying for this 'mistake' and facing expensive fines that are difficult to avoid," Ms Manison said.
"Patients and visitors are paying for the CLP car park bungle and this system needs to be immediately shut down and people reimbursed for their fines.
"How many millions of dollars have been ripped out of the pockets of Territorians trying to access the only hospital in Greater Darwin?
"How is it fair or reasonable that this costly bungle is causing daily financial stress and chaos while the CLP admit it is a mistake and then fail to shut it down?"
Labor candidate for Casuarina Lauren Moss said that the CLP Government had failed to fix the problem and the car park chaos had spilled over into the surrounding suburb.
"Residents of Tiwi are deeply concerned with the traffic hazard caused along Rocklands Drive and are calling for this mess to end," Ms Moss said.
"Our community is upset that this car park chaos drags on while CLP promises of a fix amount to a Band-Aid that shows they're not listening to residents and hospital patrons."
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Health, Nicole Manison, today said that visitors and staff are fed up with chaotic car parking conditions at Royal Darwin Hospital.
“The CLP Government’s paid parking debacle at RDH is ongoing and instead of burying their heads in the sand about it they need to get on and fix it,” Ms Manison said.
“Patients, visitors and staff at RDH are having to battle to park their cars and navigate the flawed and confusing paid parking system.
“Unpredictable and lengthy Emergency Department and Outpatients wait times cause difficulty navigating the paid parking system. As a result Territorians are being fined for overstaying and the CLP Government is hiding the extent of this revenue raising.
“What is the revenue that is made from the parking system and infringements? The CLP need to explain what this chaos is costing Territorians.”
Ms Manison said the CLP Government has failed to solve the problems plaguing RDH.
“RDH is under immense pressure both inside with the bed block and blown out emergency department wait times and outside with the chaos in the car park,” Ms Manison said.
“These issues cannot be ignored any longer - the CLP Government needs to tackle the health chaos.”