Public hospitals need fixing now says AMA

Australian Medical Association

Health Minister Mark Butler’s comments that the funding agreement should run until 2025 “not good enough” says AMA President.

The AMA is renewing its push for reform of public hospital funding.

The AMA’s Clear the Hospital Logjam campaign put the issue on the agenda before the May federal election and this week President Steve Robson said the health minister’s suggestion that the current funding agreement should run until 2025 was not “good enough”.

The AMA’s Clear the Hospital Logjam campaign is calling for 50-50 funding between the Commonwealth and states to improve hospital performance, expand capacity, and address avoidable admissions. It also calls for the 6.5 per cent cap on activity to be scrapped, to allow hospitals to meet community demand.

Professor Robson said the horror stories coming out of every state and territory were the result of increased pressure on hospitals and a funding agreement “failing the health system and Australians who rely on that system”.

“Story after story is showing a system buckling under pressure. People are dying waiting to be seen which is unacceptable in a country which prides itself on having a world-class health system,” Professor Robson said.

“NSW is facing record wait times for emergency departments and essential surgery, as ambulance ramping spikes, one in 10 people are leaving the emergency department without receiving care, and more than 18,700 people are overdue for surgery. This is no surprise, given reports of patients stuck in hospital beds for more than five years, waiting for disability or aged care services — beds that are needed to provide hospital care.

“In QLD, there are reports of patients dying as they wait for ambulances, with one suicidal patient waiting more than two hours for an ambulance and being found dead by paramedics, and another dying as the ambulance arrived nine hours after the call for help.

“How many more people need to die before we act?”

The states and territories have joined the AMA’s call for a permanent 50-50 funding split with the Commonwealth; with SA and TAS re-stating their position this week as they grapple with unprecedented demand and GP shortages.

Over the next few months, the AMA will advocate for funding to address elective surgery and outpatient appointment wait times; the bed block created by having inadequate aged care and NDIS funding and proposing solutions to the current GP crisis.

/AMA/AusMed News. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).