AMA (NSW) is anticipating a 2022-2023 State Budget that puts the health of NSW residents first.
“The pandemic really shone a light on how vital it is to have a well-resourced, properly funded health system. If NSW fails to deliver a Budget that addresses the State’s health needs now – after two years of dealing with the biggest health crisis we are likely to face this century – then when?” said AMA (NSW) President, Dr Danielle McMullen.
“COVID taught us that when the health of residents is at risk, then jobs are at risk, and the economy is at risk. Healthcare should not be viewed as an economic burden, but as the centrepiece of a prosperous society.
“We want to see a Budget that addresses the current workforce shortages that contribute to ambulance ramping, bed block, declining trends in hospital performance, and health inequity across the State, particularly in rural NSW.
“We want to see a Budget that addresses the elective surgery waitlists that are leading to poorer health outcomes for patients – not short-term ‘blitz’ funding, but structured funding that sees a well-managed ramping up of elective surgery over the coming years.
“We want to see a Budget that delivers on more than the usual recurrent spending. We need a cash injection that meets the non-COVID needs of the community. There is a raft of non-COVID care that was sidelined during the pandemic and now needs to be dealt with. This includes routine screening for mental health, cancer, and chronic disease.
“We want to see a Budget that supports general practice. Primary care is the cornerstone of our healthcare system and yet, often taken for granted. We’re calling on the State to grant medical practices an exemption to payroll tax, which threatens the financial viability of practices across the State.
“And we want to see a Budget that includes a wage increase for the health workforce, including doctors. Doctors may not choose to strike, but they have made significant sacrifices during the pandemic and should not be left out of any changes to public sector wages.”
Dr McMullen added, “We’re buoyed by the Victorian Government’s Budget, which allotted $12bn in new spending to boost health infrastructure and workforce. Surely, we can expect a similar focus and commitment to health in NSW. As the most populous State in the country, we deserve a Budget that meets the growing needs of NSW.
“And as we witnessed in South Australia, voters are not afraid of change when they feel the health system is at stake,” Dr McMullen said.
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