- On October 23, 2019
AMA (NSW) President, Dr Kean-Seng Lim, says a demand from Treasury that $252 million be saved on health spending is at odds with the massive growth in demand hospitals are seeing.
“We know from the Government’s own record-keeping in the Bureau of Health Information, that demand for hospital services is rapidly increasing.
“We also know that the proportion of people with more acute injuries and illness is growing – and these cases are more resource intensive.
“However, at the same time, we are seeing health services being asked to do more with less, as Treasury imposes a demand to save hundreds of millions.
“These leaked documents would indicate that Treasury is in defiance of reality and being very short-sighted,” Dr Lim said.
“Cuts lead to two things: reduced services and reduced capacity for the system to change.
“This is poor planning and will not change the cost trajectory.
“If the Government was being sincere about wanting to find efficiencies in health, it would be investing in improvements like linking information, streamlining workflows, co-ordinating services, and improving delivery.
“To solve the problems we are facing in health, we need co-operation from the State and Federal Governments.
“Part of this would be the Federal Government needing to better manage and resource general practice, aged care, the NDIS, and mental health services.
“When there are insufficient resources in these areas, it creates flow on effects in our hospitals,” Dr Lim said.
“Previous health spending cuts have ended with reductions in administration staff, doctors and nurses being stretched more thinly, increased risk of staff burnout, and, of course, longer waits for patients.
“Those same BHI figures I already mentioned have been showing reductions in key performance measures for a while now.
“There is little doubt that cuts to health spending will lead to increased waiting time for patients.
“Hospitals are already experiencing demand which our system was not built to meet.
“Lengthening waiting times for patients will not be the only cost created by these cuts – the people who work in our hospitals will also feel them very keenly,” Dr Lim said.
Media contact: Lachlan Jones 0419 402 955