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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The health sector will struggle to provide a continued high standard of care following a real cut in today’s State Budget, the AMA (WA) said.
“An adjustment of just 1.3 per cent over the next year is, in fact, a serious cut. It will not be enough to cater for the continuing increase in demand and the rise in medical costs,” said
AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon.
“We acknowledge that times are tough for the state finances. However it is sad that the rise in the health budget is not only below CPI, but dramatically below medical CPI.
“Patients should not be made to suffer as a result of bad spending decisions by governments in past budgets.
“Even the 4.6 per cent rise over the next four years for hospital services is hardly enough to provide for increased growth.
“This paltry increase will not help the hospitals that are bursting at the seams or emergency departments where ramping is becoming a regular, even common feature of daily life.”
It is also regrettable that the Government has not included funding for the State Mental Health Plan in today’s budget.
“WA has one of the highest rates of suicide in Australia. It is now the leading cause of teenage death in WA. We are, unfortunately, becoming the ‘Suicide State’. However all that is included in the budget is $25.9 million over four years for a new suicide prevention strategy,” Dr Gannon said.
“The announcement that the Mental Health Plan will not be considered further until at least the middle of the year is one of the most depressing lines in the budget for all doctors.
To say this is disappointing is an understatement. Suicide is becoming a state crisis. Urgent action is needed now.”
Dr Gannon also said the budget was sadly lacking in plans for Royal Perth Hospital.
“Just $19 million has been allocated for a care and maintenance program at RPH.
“At first look, this appeared to be a joke considering there is so much that needs to be done at a facility that used to be one of Australia’s premier hospitals. The budget allocation for RPH will hardly be enough for a new air conditioning system and a coat of paint let alone the huge redevelopment that is desperately needed,” Dr Gannon said.
“There is no blueprint for RPH. Not to have a plan for the future of RPH is to have no plan for the future of WA health,”
Dr Gannon said.
“And once again, there is no mention of King Edward Memorial Hospital.”
The AMA (WA) congratulated the Government for introducing a No-Fault Third Party Insurance Scheme.
“This scheme, while overdue, is very welcome and will help provide those seriously injured, the right care.”
For further comment or to contact Dr Gannon, please call Robert Reid: 0422 553 877