Health professionals pleased with budget

HUNTER health experts are glowing with good news about what they say is real and new investment in the sector.

They have few complaints other than a cautious rider that the budget fine print will need to be checked closer in coming days.

Chief executive of Hunter Urban Medicare Local Mark Foster said he was surprised at the level of new investment.

Dr Foster said the most attractive item was the $200million in new funding for electronic health (e-health) records over two years.

‘‘E-health is one of the things to make health work better,’’ Dr Foster said.

‘‘It is one of the most powerful tools,’’ he said.

He said there was lots of talk about a tough budget.

‘‘I was worried about cuts in health and backing out [of the sector].

‘‘That is not the case.’’

He said his organisation sought improvements of care outside hospitals and this budget delivered that through its $1 billion of new spending in dental and aged care.

The Australian Medical Association said health had ‘‘generally been spared’’ from budget cuts.

Newcastle allied health professionals Chris Morton, a physiotherapist, and Silas Moss, an exercise scientist, said they regretted the government still ran health by treating chronic conditions rather than more emphasis on preventive measures.

They both hailed the expansion of the bowel cancer screening program and heavy restrictions on duty-free cigarettes.

They said they hoped in future budgets to see more government spending that encouraged closer relations between GPs and allied health workers.

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