Australians vote health care as number one priority
IN NEWS sure to be welcomed by clinicians and researchers alike, research has found Australian voters think improved hospitals and health care should be the federal government's number one priority and that the Commonwealth – rather than the states – should pay for it.
Australians placed health care clearly ahead of other key policy areas, including keeping the national economy strong, employment and infrastructure, new consumer research released on Friday by Research Australia reported.
Ninety-one per cent of 1000 people surveyed said improving hospitals and the healthcare system was the number one priority of federal government action.
They also ranked more funding for health and medical research, and for preventive health care, in the top 10 priorities at 9th and 10th respectively.
These ranked ahead of crime and apprenticeships, border control, immigration policies and the war on terrorism.
Fifty-seven per cent of the people surveyed placed the primary responsibility for funding health and medical research on the federal government.
Research Australia chief executive Elizabeth Foley said it was important the federal government fostered health and medical research, as well as hospitals and health care.
"By fostering research... governments can help deliver on both," she said.
Research Australia's analysis of the study concluded Australians have a good overall awareness of the role of the federal government and donations in funding health and medical research.
But they were less clear on the role of state and territory governments and private investment.
While 52% thought at least some funding comes from donations and grants from individuals, community groups and trusts, only three per cent believed individuals and groups had the primary responsibility for funding.