Doctors back multi-million dollar Medical Research Fund

A KEY doctors group has backed the Abbott government's multi-billion Medical Research Fund, but called on the government not to axe a key health group facing the chop.

On Thursday, the government introduced new legislation to put in place a key budget measure, to abolish Health Workforce Australia.

Tuesday's budget papers showed the agency, along with a raft of government agencies, would be abolished and its functions moved to the Health Department.

It will be abolished if the bills to axe it pass the Senate, and while the Opposition has complained about the changes, it has not said it would vote it down.

Labor's shadow parliamentary secretary for health Amanda Rishworth said abolishing the HWA particularly would be a "dark day" for both the 130 employees and the health workforce more generally.

It is a sentiment shared by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians; with incoming president Nicholas Talley seeking reassurance the change won't affect services.

Professor Talley said the budget had already created a $2 billion "gaping hole" in public hospital funding, and urged the government to guarantee the abolition of the HWA would not undermine planning.

"The Federal Government must articulate its national vision for how primary, community and acute care will work together to keep people healthy and engaged in the workforce for a much longer period of their lives."

The bill is part of the government's agenda to cut down on red tape and "reduce the health bureaucracy", in a bid to make the public service more efficient.

Topics:  doctors

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