Local Hospital Waiting Lists Set To Grow

Local Federal MPs, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, and Labor’s candidate for Gilmore Fiona Phillips have warned that federal Coalition cuts to public hospitals will see Emergency Department waiting times in the region significantly worsen. 

The Australian Medical Association’s latest snapshot of the nation’s hospital system says that patients are the ones paying a high price for cruel Budget cuts. 

The situation is critical with the AMA warning that:

  • 68 per cent of emergency department patients classified as “urgent” were seen within half an hour, well short of the performance target of 80 per cent. 
  • 73 per cent of emergency department patients were referred on for treatment, admitted to hospital, or discharged within four hours or less, well short of the 90 per cent target. 

This latest news follows figures from the Bureau of Health’s Hospital Quarterly Report of September last year which found that just 59 per cent of patients left the Wollongong Hospital’s emergency department within four hours. Patients attending Shoalhaven Hospital’s ED also faced longer waits with only 63 per cent leaving within four hours. 

Sharon Bird said that patients in the Illawarra are bearing the brunt of the Coalition’s inept handling of the health system. 

“Wollongong hospital and public hospitals right across Australia are under enormous pressure. 

“Hospitals, including those in our area, will face a crisis because of Coalition cuts. Commonwealth funding increases for public hospitals each year is set to fall from 9 per cent to 4.5 per from 2017. Waiting times are set to grow but the Coalition doesn’t seem to care.” 

Stephen Jones said that the federal Coalition must heed the AMA’s warnings. 

“Coalition cuts mean that by 2025 public hospital funding will be reduced by $57 billion, putting an incredible burden on Doctors and nurses trying to care for people in our crowded emergency departments. 

“The head of the AMA, Professor Brian Owler, has delivered a clear warning – Commonwealth cuts are already showing up in hospital performance stats and the steep slowdown in funding in coming years will hit our hospitals hard.” 

Fiona Phillips stated that current funding situation was untenable and that action was needed. 

“It’s time for Liberal MPs like Ann Sudmalis to stand up to Malcolm Turnbull and Health Minister Susan Ley and say enough is enough. Hospitals are the coalface of healthcare and they just can’t keep up thanks to the Coalition’s negligence.”

THURSDAY, 28 JANUARY 2016