6 April 2011
The AMA today joined leading science, medical and research groups in calling on the Government to increase or at least maintain current levels of health and medical research funding.
AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said that there have been reports and rumours of proposed cuts to funding for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and other medical research programs in the May Budget.
“Australia has a proud record of achievement in health and medical research, and this must be maintained,” Dr Pesce said.
“Health and medical research is crucial to maintaining best practice high quality health and medical care in Australia. Investment in health and medical research also generates social and economic benefits to the community.
“All Australians benefit from investment in health and medical research in the longer term because it helps ensure that doctors have access to the best evidence-based therapies and treatments, informed by well-funded world-class research. If the appropriate investments are not made, Australia’s ability to offer its citizens high quality health care will be impaired.
“The Government needs to increase the funding commitment to health and medical research to improve the evidence base, not only for cutting-edge hospital procedures, but also for preventive medicine and chronic disease management.
“The AMA urges the Government to rule out Budget cuts to health and medical research funding. We also encourage the Government to implement a review of health and medical research in Australia to assist with strategic planning for the longer term.
“It is vital that Australia continues to lead the world in medical research to find new ways to detect and treat disease and to keep people healthy. This will require more funding, not less,” Dr Pesce said.
The AMA supports the medical research community’s call for additional funding (totalling $850 million over 3-4 years) to maintain Australia’s position as a global leader in health and medical research. In particular, the additional funding is required for the following:
• a four per cent real annual growth in funding for the NHMRC from 2011 to fund
research to address rising rates of conditions such as diabetes, cancer and dementia, as well as ways to build workplace productivity and to address population ageing;
• building health research as an enabler of health reform to provide evidence to drive
excellence and continuous improvement in the health system; and
• funding to help innovative ideas and new technologies make it to market.