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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
While improved from last year, the WA 2016-17 State Budget provides little confidence for the medium to long term future of the health sector, the AMA (WA) said today.
“The State Budget boosts health funding by 4.8 per cent and mental health by 1.7 per cent in the coming year. In the current financial situation this is good news,” AMA (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said.
“But this is quite clearly an election budget with the pain due next year,” he added.
“And with just a 0.3 per cent increase in the 2017-18 year, the future of health is not good.
“While we fully understand the financial position the State Government finds itself in – due to both the slowdown in the global economy and its own spending decisions – we will have to do better than this if we are to prepare properly for the health of all West Australians.”
“The paltry increase forecast for 2017-18 will mean further delays in acute treatment, longer waiting lists for surgery and more corridor care. Patients should not be made to suffer as a result of bad spending decisions.
“The Government’s announcement of a strategy to tackle the scourge of Methamphetamine in our community is a good move, but it’s only a start – and a small start at that. The funding of only $7.5 million per year ($14.9 million) will not go very far.”
“The Government has once again refused to provide proper funding for Royal Perth Hospital. What was once the flagship of health in WA is now in desperate need for a plan and for money to be provided, otherwise RPH will fall further into disrepair.
“There is also no mention of moving King Edward Memorial Hospital to the QEII campus,”
“I notice the heading for details of the health budget talks of a health system in transition. There is however no detail of where we are transitioning to, and what sort of health system we will have when we get there.”
Research has also been forgotten once again, Dr Gannon said.
“Research could provide WA with a firm economic future. Instead the Government has chosen that tourism should be the future. Rarely have we seen such a negative approach.
“Research and innovation offers Western Australia a bright future. Unfortunately this government has refused to take up this opportunity,” he said.
It is also regrettable that realistic funding has not been provided for mental health and the implementation of the State Mental Health Plan.
“We also praise the government for removing the Public Sector Recruitment Freeze, which is to be lifted immediately. It was becoming ludicrous for the Health Minister having to go to the Treasurer and begging for every vital vacancy to be filled,” Dr Gannon said.
The health budget, at $8.6 billion, represents 29% of the total WA budget. The Mental Health Commission budget represents 2.9% of the total WA budget.