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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Health in Western Australia has survived today’s Budget, but still faces a difficult road ahead, Australian Medical Association (WA) Vice President Dr Michael Gannon said today.
“Today’s Budget includes a 7 per cent increase in hospital funding, but a 4.5 per cent rise in overall department funding. This compares to a 7.3 per cent rise in total health funding last financial year.
Overall this is a fairly positive outcome,” Dr Gannon said.
“However the AMA (WA) remains very concerned that future funding in the Budget will not fully provide for the huge demand in health services that the Government itself forecasts,” Dr Gannon said.
The AMA (WA) is also disappointed that the Government did not fully keep its promise of $30 million for medical research over the next four years, only providing $12 million in new money with the rest found from within current health funding.
Dr Gannon congratulated Health Minister Kim Hames for taking up the AMA (WA’s) suggestion of the North West Health Initiative ($161m over 4 years) and for redevelopment funding for RPH ($180m over forward estimates and out years).
The Association also welcomed increased funding of 8.1 per cent in the budget for mental health this year, bringing total spending to $734 million.
However, of particular concern to the AMA was the likely jump in demand for health services. The budget papers forecast WA’s population will rise 2.2 per cent each year over the next four years – or 50,000 new residents each year – and that the number of residents ageing and with chronic illnesses will also continue to grow significantly.
“These 200,000 people over the next four years will add huge demand to health services and we are not overall confident that the system is ready for such a big increase in demand,” Dr Gannon said.
Although it was expected, Dr Gannon said the AMA (WA) was disappointed that the Budget did not include funding for one or two floors additional floors to be added to the new children’s hospital, currently under construction.
“Once again we call on the state government to provide an additional 100 beds in the new hospital in order to care for our sickest children.
“To do this requires strong leadership to help establish new medical facilities that will provide future proofing for our important institutions such as hospitals,” he said.
“We need a strong commitment from a Government that puts health at the forefront of its policies; by providing more hospital beds to deal with our bourgeoning population growth, by improving medical research in this State, and by making sure that we can provide the best care possible.
“We renew our call to the Government to take a bold step in dealing with the future demand for health services in this State.
“We need a strong commitment from a Government that puts health at the forefront of its policies; by providing more hospital beds to deal with our bourgeoning population growth, by improving medical research in this State, and by making sure that we can provide the best care possible,” he said.
Dr Gannon said the AMA would continue its campaign to see WA adequately fund medical research.
“If you were a medical researcher looking for increased support from the State Government, today’s announcement of just $12 million in new funding, might be enough to send you interstate or overseas to continue your research.
“Ignoring the dire need for medical research in this budget will be the catalyst that sees our best and brightest young researchers lured away to the East Coast or overseas,” he said.