Medical Research Future Fund a giant white elephant

The biggest announcement on Budget night was the creation of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) but the Union is questioning the wisdom of the Abbott Government’s decision to establish the Fund through cutting funding to health and education.

This Fund will produce no outcomes for any Australians until at least 2020 when the Fund is expected to be fully funded and commences its work. But in the meantime it means hospitals and community health centres will cut more essential medical staff, and of course reduce services, as funding from the State and Federal governments has been slashed.

It will come as a big surprise to patients when there are fewer medical scientists to undertake essential blood tests or assist with cancer treatments; fewer dietitians to ensure they get the right diets for their treatments; fewer psychologists to support people with mental health concerns; and fewer pharmacists to dispense the necessary medicines to aid patient recovery.

It will not surprise us when we are told that even though there might be fewer of us to maintain services we are nonetheless expected to accept ever increasing workloads, regardless of the impact this will have on our health and wellbeing.

The motives for setting up the MRFF are also questionable in an environment where organisations like the CSIRO and the Red Cross Blood Service are sacking research scientists. The Abbott Government’s cuts mean these organisations won’t be able to take advantage of the fund because they won’t have the people and capacity to do the research.

And when university students are saddled with a debt the size of a small mortgage to undertake Masters and PhDs, it is unlikely they’ll want to pursue science careers.

Who exactly does the Abbott Government expect will be doing the medical research in 2020?

The distorted priorities of the Abbott Government mean a sicker, poorer Australia through the reduction of clinical health services with a giant white elephant called the Medical Research Future Fund that produces no results until at least 2020.

It has to be a cruel joke that the Abbott Government cuts upwards of $50 billion from health and hospitals funding, destroying Australia’s universal healthcare system, for a research fund worth only $20 billion – it doesn’t even add up.

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