Socialist Alliance bases its policy on health promotion, disease prevention and timely treatment of illnesses and includes promoting good health. A healthy life depends on a healthy environment and safe working conditions. It will be based on the concept of hope and community control.
Socialist Alliance will restore and extend Medicare. Medicare is not just a “safety net.” By abolishing the tax rebate for private health insurance, $2.5 billion could be freed to provide more resources for public hospitals. The coverage of Medicare would be extended to include dental care and ancillary services.
Socialist Alliance will make multi-disciplinary community primary healthcare services the cornerstone of the health system. SA would ensure the availability of adequate funding for Community Health Centres run by democratic joint committees of medical professionals, other health workers and members of the community. SA will establish Women’s Health Centres providing access to contraception, abortion and cancer screening facilities.
Socialist Alliance will ensure that essential pharmaceuticals are available according to need. SA will retain the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and legislate to ensure that it is quarantined from any trade agreement and any undue influence of pharmaceutical companies. The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories would be re-nationalised and given the specific task of producing cheap generic drugs.
Socialist Alliance will ensure that mental health services are adequately funded. SA will legislate to protect the right of access to free, quality mental healthcare, without pressure to conform to traditional gender roles or other social stereotypes.
Socialist Alliance will ensure that funding and structuring of health services emphasise prevention and equity. Schools will be funded to promote healthy eating. A free lunchtime meal program will be established in all schools. Strategies for reduction of stress levels and accidents at workplaces will be formulated. Free, quality health education and screening programs will be fully funded.
Socialist Alliance will ensure that patients’ rights are respected. SA will guarantee patients’ control by legislating the right of access to all information required for informed consent; the right to appoint a legal guardian of a patient’s choice; the right to choose or refuse medical treatment; the right to choose contraception appropriate to the patient and abortion as required. A no-fault medical indemnity insurance system will be introduced which will ensure that patients are fully compensated for medical mishaps. This indemnity will be extended to cover midwives providing care outside hospitals.