The RANZCR advocacy team had a very fruitful first visit for the year to Parliament House, Canberra on 6 March to discuss some of our pressing issues with Members of Parliament and Department of Health heads, as well as building relationships and the allies we need in our corner.
We met with the Shadow Health Minister, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston; the new Shadow Assistant Regional Health Minister, Dr Anne Webster; Dr Mike Freelander MP, the Chair of the Health, Aged Care and Sports committee as well as the workforce advisor in Health Minister Butler’s office together with high level health department staff.
We had discussions on broad range of topics based primarily on our pre-budget submission which focussed on removing restrictions on MRI licences, Medicare funding of breast markers, restoring brachytherapy funding within the ROHPG Scheme, opening a GP referral pathway to IR for women with uterine fibroids and the proposed RANZCR Regional and Rural Training Pathway (RRTP). We received a very positive response from all our meetings especially regarding the RRTP.
Dr Freelander indicated that he supports RANZCR’s Ask to have MRI licences removed for metropolitan areas as well and has had discussions with Minister Butler about this issue. The College will continue to strongly advocate to remove all restrictions for future budgets.
The value of our Radiation Oncology facility surveys was recognised with requests by several stakeholders to receive this information once the surveys have been finalised.
From the Government’s perspective the main messages we received were that their first focus is on fulfilling their election commitments within a tight financial position.
Working with governments is often a long, protracted process taking years rather than months. Members can rest assured that the College advocacy team is kicking some important goals.
Mr Brendan Grabau, Dr Anne Webster, Ms Melissa Doyle and Ms Roza Sage