In a press release issued last night, the Turnbull Government announced a $12.4 billion increase in the Health Budget and a $414.5 billion investment in health, aged care and sport. Here are the highlights that relate to childhood cancer and our favourite topic, research.
- Provision for $248 million to support clinical trial activity.
- Creation of $240 million program to develop innovative medical ideas, research and treatments.
- Commitment to investing in a National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan of $1.3 billion, including a ground-breaking $500 million Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission.
Life-saving and job creating investment in medical research
The Government will deliver $6 billion in record funding for Australia’s health and medical research sector, including $3.5 billion for the National Health and Medical Research Council, $2 billion in disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund and $500 million from the Biomedical Translation Fund.
The foundation of the Government’s commitment to health and medical research is a new job boosting $1.3 billion National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan, to improve health outcomes for hundreds of thousands of Australians, create tens of thousands of new jobs, and develop the next generation of Australia’s global leading industries.
Clinical trials offer the hope of better diagnosis, treatment and ultimately cures. The Turnbull Government will provide $248 million to support clinical trial activity through the highly successful rare cancer, rare diseases and unmet need clinical trials and registries program.
The centrepiece of the National Health and Medical Industry Growth Plan is a $500 million Australian Genomics Health Futures Mission, which will help more than 200,000 Australians live longer and receive better treatment tailored to their medical needs.
Boosting essential infant and maternal health services
To give Australian children the best possible start in life, the Government is investing $77.9 million in infant and maternal health, and for the first 2,000 days of a child’s life. This includes $17.5 million for maternal and infant health medical research.
An initiative which parents of children with cancer will find helpful is the introduction of a national digital baby book designed to help parents keep track of their children’s health from birth. With $5 million of funding, this will replace state and territory hard copy baby books, and give children their passport to a lifelong health record.
Future proofing health in regional areas
The Turnbull Government will deliver the most comprehensive rural health package in decades, which will improve access to doctors, nurses and other health care services for all Australians, especially those in the regions.
The Stronger Rural Health Strategy will improve the delivery of healthcare by ensuring the right health care professionals are located in regional areas. It is envisaged this will provide greater opportunities for Australian doctors through better teaching, training, recruitment and retention. The package will see growth in multidisciplinary care and increased access to nursing and allied health services.
In order to support teaching in the regions, the Government will invest $95.4 million to create the new Murray Darling Medical Schools Network comprising of the University of NSW (Wagga Wagga), University of Sydney (Dubbo), Charles Sturt University/Western Sydney University (Orange), Monash University (Bendigo, Mildura), and University of Melbourne/La Trobe University (Bendigo, Wodonga, Shepparton). The Government will also include Curtin University (for medical training) and La Trobe University (for nursing and allied health training) in the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.
This will be done while retaining the existing number of Commonwealth Supported Places for medical students.
This is a fundamental change in the teaching and supply of rural and regional doctors and will transform rural training schools, enabling students to undertake most of their education and training in rural areas to provide a continuum for doctors to learn, train and work in the regions.
The Stronger Rural Health Strategy will mean more Australian doctors for the regions.
Read the Government's full press release here.