- On March 6, 2019
AMA (NSW) President, Dr Kean-Seng Lim, says current government policy is not addressing the strains the health system is under.
“The latest figures from the Bureau of Health Information show nearly three quarters of a million people attended NSW emergency departments in the last three months of 2018.
“This is an all-time record for ED attendances andis just continuing the trend that’s been observed since the BHI started keeping records 10 years ago.
“The first fourth quarter report released by BHI back in 2010 showed 535,790 patients attended emergency departments, at the end of last year it had ballooned to 749,504.
“The most recent figures also show that people are getting sicker –there were strong increases in triage categories one and two as well as admissions to hospital from emergency departments.
“The growth in demand far exceeds growth in population.
“There was no horror flu season in summer last year like we saw in Q3 2017,the previous record-holder,and we’re running out of excuses to avoid addressing the real issues.
“This is a direct result of a fragmented approach to managing the health system.
“At the federal level, general practice and primary care have been systematically defunded even though there is overwhelming evidence this is the most efficient part of the health system – in terms of reducing total health costs, admissions, and improving quality of life.
“At the state level, there have been proven programs aimed at integratingservices offered to patients between hospitals and general practice that reduced hospital admissions and emergency department presentations.
“These reductions were significant – for the patients involved, all of whom had chronic health conditions, there was a 32 per cent reduction in ED presentations, a 34 per cent reduction in unplanned hospitalisations, and a 38 per cent reduction in the cost of hospitalisations,” Dr Lim said.
AMA (NSW) is calling on all parties in the State and Federal elections to put health first. Our hospitals and health staff urgently need:
- Increases to medical workforce in all specialties and areas
- Hospitals to be adequately resourced to provide care for the communities they serve
- A commitment to health funding being increased to allocate 10% of the health budget to general practice / primary care –this should not come at the expense of hospital funding
- Implementation of a range of protections for doctors-in-training who are the front line of dealing with the overwhelming demand
Media contact: Lachlan Jones 0419 402 955