Federal government warning on public hospitals

The federal government have received a warning from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) of an imminent crisis for public hospitals if funding is not increased. The government are under growing pressure to reform the tax system due to poor reports of the public hospital system. The report uncovered that the most urgent patients are made to wait longer in emergency departments, the bed ratios are crumbling, and elective surgery wait times are at a standstill.

The AMA are utilising their annual report of public hospital performances to request a renewed health funding scheme, which is set to decline further by July 2017 when the proposed arrangements, to cut $57 billion in health care funding, are implemented. Throughout the states and territories in Australia, there has been a decline in hospital performances and by July next year, AMA president Brian Owler describes the nation as facing a “black hole”.

At present, the AMA have reported that in NSW, 64% of urgent patients were seen within 30 minutes of arriving in the emergency department, 73% of emergency patients were seen within four hours after arrival, the average wait time for an elective surgery is 35 days, and the bed ratio is at its lowest with 2.51 beds available for every 1,000 people over the age of 65.

In comparison to other states, Victoria and Queensland are both seeing an improvement in elective surgery wait times whilst other measures are remaining static. In Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT however, performance targets are struggling to be met.

Mike Baird, the NSW Premier, has suggested that the GST be lifted to 15% to increase funding to the health system.