- On June 20, 2016
AMA (NSW) President, Prof Brad Frankum, will be visiting Maitland and Cessnock to speak with local doctors and candidates about health issues in the region.
During the day, he will be talking to local politicians and community members about the need for adequate health funding in the lead-up to the Federal Election.
In the evening, he will be meeting with doctors at Maitland Hospital.
“It’s vital that adequate funding for health services continue, so we can ensure that patients get the care they need in a timely fashion.
“The crisis we were headed for in 12 months’ time has been temporarily averted because both major parties have committed to providing a band-aid for the next three years.
“However, that’s only pushed the fiscal cliff we’re headed for out to the next election.
“It’s important that cities like Maitland ensure their local member knows that health is a priority for them in the lead-up to the election,” Prof Frankum said.
“Federal cuts to health have seen the Medicare rebate frozen for several years, and depending on the way this election turns out, it could be frozen for several more.
“It is inevitable that GPs will no longer be able to bulk bill as many of their patients if the freeze remains in place for the next three years.
“Should the Medicare rebate freeze continue, you will see more and more GPs needing to privately bill so they can keep their doors open to patients.
“Of course, the rebate freeze is affecting specialists too but GPs are in a much more precarious position,” Prof Frankum said.
“I know that doctors, nurses, and other health staff are working incredibly hard to stay on top of the massive increase in demand they are seeing at hospitals and GP practices.
“At the hospitals, patients are presenting in larger numbers, with increasingly dire health conditions on arrival than ever before.
“Emergency departments are actually seeing far fewer less urgent patients than they were this time five years ago.
“It’s incredible that the State’s hospitals are still able to provide the high quality treatment in as timely a fashion as they are now, given the massive increase in demand.
“These efficiencies are even more amazing because until recently hospitals had been improving against a range of performance measures.
“More recently, hospital performance has been plateauing or even going backwards even as demand continues to increase.
“The efficiency of our hospitals is excellent but you can only push them so far before you need additional resources,” Prof Frankum said.
Media contact: Lachlan Jones 0419 402 955