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AMA (NSW) has welcomed the NSW Government’s strong commitment to healthcare in its 2022-2023 Budget but says it was a missed opportunity to support general practice.
“We’re pleased to see a 9.2% increase to the overall health budget from last year. This is a recognition that health costs are higher than inflation,” said AMA (NSW) President, Dr Michael Bonning.
“The AMA has been on record calling on Government to address workforce shortages, medical salaries, and health expenditure for non-COVID care ahead of the budget release.
“Our Hospital Health Check Survey and Senior Doctor Pulse Check both highlighted the impacts of insufficient staffing on doctor burnout and patient care. We welcome investment in these areas and look forward to seeing a clear plan of how this funding will deliver better patient care in NSW.
“It is critical that these investments increase doctor numbers, particularly in rural and regional and outer metropolitan areas. Doctors are critical to patient care in these communities.
“Further commitment to sustained investment in health is needed to address the capacity issues that threaten the system. We need to see a long-term plan from Government that accounts for our growing and ageing population, which is increasingly presenting with complex chronic health conditions.
“AMA has been vocal in calling on both the State and Federal Government to agree on an equitable arrangement that would see the Commonwealth and States contribute 50/50 in health funding to directly address the hospital logjam issues.
“We have also been calling on the NSW Government to provide a payroll tax exemption for general practices and it is disappointing that NSW failed to utilise the one mechanism at its disposal to address this punitive tax.
“Considering the State is projected to return to surplus in 2024-25, it is mind-boggling that the State would risk the financial stability of general practices for what amounts to such a relatively small amount of revenue to NSW.
“A payroll tax bill of thousands of dollars – particularly if applied retrospectively, could force some practices to close their doors permanently. Given the GP shortage and the crisis we’re facing in regional healthcare access, failure to address this tax is disconcerting,” Dr Bonning said.
AMA (NSW) notes the window that public servants can access paid parental leave has been expanded from one year to two years after birth and paid parental leave has been extended to long-term or permanent foster carers.
“We support the expansion of the public sector parental leave scheme and the flexibility that this will provide for new parents, particularly doctors-in-training,” Dr Bonning said.
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