Labor promise multi-billion-dollar health injection

SICK Aussies will benefit from a multi-billion-dollar health injection if Bill Shorten and his Labor team win the election on July 2.

Revealing a plan to reduce waiting times and increase beds, doctors and nurses, Mr Shorten promised yesterday to boost hospital funding by $4.9 bllion.

The cash splash is well above Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's recent pledge to give the states and territories an extra $2.9 bllion for health until 2020.

This means spending on public hospitals would rise from $17.2 billion a year to $21.1 billion under the Coalition's plan and to about $23 billion under the ALP.

Mr Shorten said he wanted to see a return to the former Labor government's 2011 funding agreement with the states and territories.

Revamped by the Coalition, the National Health Reform Agreement is scheduled to expire in July next year, but Mr Shorten said that at the end of the accord his government would use advice from a mooted healthcare reform commissioner to negotiate a new agreement with health ministers.

"This will mean reduced hospital waiting times, more beds, more doctors and nurses," he said of the ALP's plan. "Hospitals that perform services more efficiently are able to use additional funding to invest in service improvement."

Mr Shorten said he would also spend $100 million trying a new primary care model that was focused on keeping people out of hospital by providing in-home medical support.

Under the concept, all aspects of patients' health care will be co-ordinated by GPs, with the doctors receiving bonuses based on health outcomes.

"Labor will ramp up investment in health care at the frontline so fewer Australians end up in hospital in the first place," Mr Shorten said.

Mr Shorten said the "model of indexation" used by Coalition to replace Labor's NHRA had resulted in funding cuts to hospitals.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said the ALP could not pay for its promises.

"In total, we (the Coalition) are investing $95 billion in public hospitals over five years," she said.

"This funding is not only costed - it's already guaranteed in the budget for all to see."



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