- On March 1, 2019
AMA (NSW) President, Dr Kean-Seng Lim, rejects Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s assertion that Australians would be kicked off waiting lists for treatment as a result of the medevac law.
“The idea that Australians would be kicked off waiting lists because a few dozen extra people require urgent treatment is an incredible leap and just plain wrong.
“No-one will deny hospitals are busy, least of all me, but this points to three fundamental misunderstandings by Mr Dutton.
“First, people don’t get kicked off waiting lists for elective surgery and Australia in general – and NSW in particular – has a reasonable track record for on-time treatment.
“Second, it is entirely plausible that some of the asylum seeker patients may require emergency treatment and not elective surgery.
“Third, if Mr Dutton thinks that a few dozen extra patients will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I’ve got bad news for him.
“Australian patients are getting sicker and are requiring more hospital care as it is due to significant rises in chronic conditions like diabetes.
“The system has been dealing with massive increases in demand over just the last decade.
“In the past few years, NSW has seen increases in presentations to emergency numbering in the hundreds of thousands and thousands more requiring elective surgery.
“Meanwhile, the Federal Government has not been adequately funding hospitals for those patient loads, nor funding primary care to better manage patients in the community.
“It has also been going out of its way not to address the systemic issues that would lead, in the longer term, to reducing that demand on hospitals.
“Things like doing more to encourage healthy eating and exercise, make cities more liveable, and putting in something like a tax on sugary drinks,” Dr Lim said.
Media contact: Lachlan Jones 0419 402 955