Tasmania's health chief has denied that states, except for Western Australia, had agreed with the federal government to implement a proposed fast-track surgery guarantee for patients waiting for treatment for years.
David Roberts made the claim while testifying before the state parliamentary committee last week.
Queensland Deputy Premier Paul Lucas supported Roberts' claim. No details have yet been agreed by the states and the commonwealth on how this would be applied in the proposed National Partnership Agreement to patients who wait longer than the clinically recommended time, Lucas was quoted as saying by The Australian.
However, acting federal health minister Justine Elliot refuted Roberts' claim and insisted that the elective surgery guarantee program will be implemented as scheduled in July 2012.
All states and territories agreed to the government's elective surgery guarantee and welcomed the additional commonwealth funding to help implement it, Elliot was quoted as saying by The Australian.
The elective surgery guarantee was a late inclusion in the government's health reform program bared in April with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promising $650 million in funding. Under the program, patients can undergo operation at private hospital with the government paying the full rate.