Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, has called on the NSW Minister for Health to immediately step in and address the growing crisis in the Illawarra’s hospitals.
The Minister must intervene, guarantee funding to cover this year’s budget shortfall and immediately establish an independent review of financial, capital and human resourcing of the Illawarra’s hospitals.
Saturday’s Illawarra Mercury reported that this year the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District will again operate at a deficit. This comes on the back of operating deficits in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Wollongong Hospital continues to be neglected by the Berejiklian Government with the latest independent performance statistics reporting that Wollongong Hospital has:
- A record high elective surgery waiting list of nearly 2,600 people
- The third worst Emergency Department performance in New South Wales
- Continued roster and staffing vacancies
- More hospital bed days than the same time last year
- More babies born than the same time last year
- Performed more elective surgeries than the same period last year, including 15.4 per cent more urgent surgeries
At the recent election the Berejiklian Government committed more than $8.7 billion to improve hospitals throughout NSW but not a cent was committed to Wollongong Hospital.
NSW Labor pledged to upgrade of the maternity unit, children’s ward and establish a comprehensive independent review of the Illawarra’s health needs at the recent election.
Comments attributable to Paul Scully MP:
“The pressure on the Illawarra’s health system, and in particular Wollongong Hospital, continues to grow while the Minister for Health is happy to ignore our needs – this neglect must stop now.
“The staff of the area health service are doing a great job with the resources they have but fundamentally Illawarra hospitals are being short-changed when it comes to resource allocations.
“It is time for Brad Hazzard to step in and guarantee the funding gap this financial year and immediately start a root and branch review of our resourcing needs so that our local hospitals don’t continue to lurch from crisis to crisis.
“The health system has to efficiently and effectively manage its financial resources but when you are asking the local system to do more than ever before but the resourcing from the Berejiklian Government isn’t keeping up something is going to give and that will impact on patients.
“Penny pinching at the margins is not going to address Wollongong Hospital’s growing pressures of increased demand, increased case complexity and staffing shortages.
“The bottom line is the Berejiklian Government must invest more money into the region’s hospitals.”