ACEM statement – response to Australian federal budget

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM; the College) acknowledges significant commitments towards healthcare contained in this year’s Australian federal budget.

In an initial analysis of the budget, the College notes some positive elements of the government’s mental health and aged care packages, as well initiatives aimed at building the rural and regional specialist medical workforce.

“While many of the initiatives announced in the budget are promising, as always, it will be important to ensure that implementation contributes to genuine whole-of-system improvements, particularly where state and federal initiatives may intersect,” said ACEM President Dr John Bonning.

“The College acknowledges the ongoing significant pressures the response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to place on hospitals and health systems and associated budgets. ACEM stresses the importance of ensuring hospitals and health systems across the country are properly funded and supported by federal and state jurisdictions to deliver the care Australians need and deserve.

“This is particulary pertinent in light of the immense pressures on emergency departments and acute hospital access crises being experienced across the country.

“The College is eager to see greater cohesion and coordination between state and federal jurisdictions which ultimately contribute to better healthcare systems and outcomes for people seeking emergency care when they most need it. This should include the defining of clear goals and expectations in terms of desired outcomes and improvements stemming from all budget initiatives.”

Mental health

ACEM notes the announced expansion of up to 57 additional mental health treatment centres and satellites for adults, youth and children. While such centres may assist in providing additional support and non-emergency department options for people needing mental health support – particularly in rural and regional areas – it will be important to ensure the rollout is matched with a commensurate focus on training and retaining staff. This is a major area of need and an ongoing challenge currently facing Australia’s mental healthcare system. The College looks forward to hearing

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