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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
WA health is in a holding pattern as the State Government waits for the Sustainable Health Review report, which is not expected to be finalised until November at the earliest, the AMA (WA) said today.
“The Sustainable Health Review, established just over a year ago, has already delivered an interim report which was generally disappointing and in some parts incorrect,” AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said.
“We’ve seen an overall cut in the health budget but a small rise in money given to hospital services. However even this is a cut in real terms.
“The 2018/19 State Budget was presented as one that provides for a “steady and real course back to surplus”.
For health however, the 2018/19 WA Health budget, at $8.8 billion, represents a 2.4 per cent reduction on the 2017/18 estimated actual spending, which was $9 billion.
“Health spending now represents 29 per cent of the total WA budget.
“The State Government is relying on the SHR to deliver any sort of plan for the future of WA health, yet the interim report of that review has many problems and doesn’t augur well for that future,” Dr Khorshid said.
“We badly need a plan for the future of health services in WA. We know that demand will continue to rise and the paltry additional amount of money in the budget today is effectively a real cut.
“We had great hopes for this Government and health. This has been shown to be a false hope so far. The only real new money in the budget for health has come from the Federal Government in its announcements last week, especially for health services at Joondalup.
“What we need is a proper plan for health across all areas of the service and the State,” he said.
Dr Khorshid said the AMA (WA) was especially concerned about an 83 per cent cut in infrastructure spending between this 2017/18 and 2021/22.
“This is completely unacceptable. Infrastructure is a critical part of planning for proper health services in WA,” Dr Khorshid said.
“Infrastructure money needs to be available in the budget and it is just not there.
“There is no specific spending outlined for King Edward Memorial Hospital or Graylands Hospital and almost no funding for the future of Royal Perth Hospital.
“For patients turning up at a hospital this budget will mean more pressure, not less.
“We need a total plan for health that delivers on emergency care and elective surgery, with real increases in spending that will cope with rising demand.
“Today’s Budget has failed to provide for WA’s health future,” Dr Khorshid said.