Former Port Macquarie Private Hospital gastroenterologist Dr David Gillespie has been elevated to an Assistant Minister role in Malcolm Turnbull’s new government, it was announced yesterday.
Dr Gillespie has become the new Assistant Minister for Rural Health, joining reappointed Health Minister Sussan Ley and Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt.
Australian Private Hospitals Association CEO Mr Michael Roff welcomed the new health team, saying Dr Gillespie has a good understanding of the issues affecting the private hospital sector through his work at Port Macquarie, which includes the establishment of Hastings Day Surgery.
“I look forward to working with the new Assistant Minister, particularly on the Coalition election pledge to create a rural and remote private health insurance product.
“We will also continue our excellent working relationship with the returning Health Minister, Sussan Ley, and we are keen to see progress on a number of reviews undertaken in the last parliamentary term.
“There is now bipartisan support to end public hospital only ‘junk’ health policies and this would be an easy win for the Minister to act on quickly as we start to see private health insurance reform in Australia.
“Public hospital only policies cost Australians while providing the same access to care as they receive free of charge through Medicare. However, this is just the first step in making private health insurance make sense to Australians, there is a great deal of work to be done in this area,” he said.
During the election campaign, Minister Ley committed to a number of private health insurance changes including simplifying policies and billing, along with standardised medical terms, which Mr Roff said private hospitals endorsed.
“All of these changes will make it easier for Australians to understand what they are buying when purchasing an insurance product.
“APHA has long campaigned on behalf of consumers for a simpler system of private health insurance. We know there is a great deal of confusion about health insurance policies and complex language and complicated terms make it hard for people to determine if their policy is fit for purpose,” Mr Roff said.