New AMA President says Australians should have high expectations of healthcare

Australian Medical Association

In his first extensive radio interview Professor Steve Robson has said the AMA remains concerned about ramping and the public hospital crisis.

On ABC RN’s Drive program this week new AMA President Professor Steve Robson was asked by host Andy Park whether Australian’s expectations of health care were too high.

Professor Robson said it was an interesting question.

“I mean, in reality, and looking globally, we have a good health system, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t scope for improvement and refinement and making things better for Australians. But if you’re in a situation whereas happened in Adelaide where this poor gentleman was unable to have an ambulance come to him in a timely manner, or in Tasmania, as we also saw where somebody died in an ambulance ramped at a hospital, that’s really something that many Australians will find shocking. And through the pandemic a lot of Australians and their families have had experience of this, and it’s very jarring in what we thought was a world class health system. So, I think it’s very reasonable that Australians should have high expectations for the healthcare they receive,” he said.

Professor Robson said bed block continued to fuel the crisis.

“Ramping is a major problem around the country and so many people have experienced this. Exactly as you point out, ambulances are unable to offload patients and move them into emergency departments, which means that they’re tied up, they can’t get to other emergencies. So, the way that you stop ramping is to make sure that there’s better access to emergency departments. And the way that you do that is to make sure that there are more beds available and resources within hospitals so patients can move out of busy emergency departments into the hospital to free up facilities and resources to allow ambulances to bring new patients in. It’s that simple.”

Dr Robson said he believed the new Federal Government was receptive to the AMA’s 50-50 State and Federal Government funding split, bringing in $20 billion dollars of new money into the public hospital system over the next four years, with the 6.5 per cent cap on Commonwealth funding removed.

“Look, certainly the government are very interested in this. It’s our proposal that would increase the Commonwealth component of funding. We’re looking for what we calculate is around about 20 billion additional Commonwealth dollars spent over the coming four years to deal with this, to improve the resources, beds and staffing in our public hospitals, to give them the money and resources to be able to deal with that so that we can increase the capacity in hospitals so the patients who are waiting in emergency departments to move out for beds in hospital have that ability. And that, of course, opens things up in emergency and reduces the need for ramping when ambulances arrive with new patients.”

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