Bill's Media Releases


A Shorten Labor Government will slash waiting times for cancer treatment and surgery in public hospitals, with a $500 million investment in waiting lists across Australia.

When people are sick, the last thing they need is to sit on long waiting lists watching the clock for the treatment they need.
However, under the Liberals’ cuts to health and hospitals, waiting times for essential surgery and procedures have blown out.
Average waiting times for elective surgery have increased in every state and territory under the Liberals.
One in ten Australians will have to wait an average 47 days to get a breast lump removed or checked.
83 per cent of people who receive a positive result from the government’s bowel screening program don't undergo a colonoscopy within the recommended time.
That’s why, as part of Labor’s $2.3 billion Medicare Cancer Plan, we will act to ensure that it is your Medicare card, not your credit card, that determines access to potentially life-saving surgery.
Labor will work with the states and territories to establish a National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Cancer Care, to slash waiting times for surgery and consultations in Australia’s public hospitals. This investment is in addition to Labor’s $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund.
Labor’s public hospital cancer blitz will mean:

  • More Australians can receive free cancer care in public hospitals
  • Public waiting times will be reduced, forcing fewer patients into the private system
  • Downwards pressure will be put on private out-of-pocket costs through increased competition from the public system

Labor’s $500 million investment is equivalent to:

  • Almost 19,000 major breast reconstructions
  • Over 250,000 free colonoscopies
  • Almost 1.4 million free consultations with medical oncologists
  • Almost 1.8 million free consultations with radiation therapists or
  • Almost 2.9 million free consultations with cancer nurses or allied health providers

Public patients generally visit a specialist in an outpatient department for referral to surgery, radiation therapy or other procedures.
Long waiting times for these initial consultations can force patients into the private system, where they may face large out-of-pocket costs.
When someone is sick, they shouldn’t face the cruel choice of long public hospital waiting times or being forced to pay huge out-of-pocket costs in the private system.
Addressing inequality in our health care system is critical to addressing inequality in survival rates across the country – people living in rural and regional Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders wait longer for the treatment they need and have poorer health outcomes.
This investment is part of Labor’s $2.3 billion Medicare Cancer Plan – a plan to make sure it is your Medicare card, not your credit card, that determines your access to health care.
Our Medicare Cancer Plan will deliver cheaper cancer scans, cheaper cancer specialist consultations and cheaper cancer medicines. 
The Medicare Cancer Plan will cover an additional 2,000 specialist consultation a day –  with no out-of-pocket costs. 
For people who need a cancer scan – every MRI machine, in every postcode, will be eligible for Medicare. 
For CT scans, X-Rays, mammograms, PET scans – this plan will cut out-of-pocket costs and provide up to six million free scans.
We can pay for our plan because we are making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.
We’re prioritising health and hospitals – making sure Australians have access to the best medicines and care, because we’d rather have the world’s best health system not the world’s best tax loopholes.
Labor will invest in cancer care, we’ll fight for Medicare and we will always make sure it is your Medicare card, not your credit card that determines access to health.

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