Sustainable Health Review - More questions than answers | AMA (WA)


AMA (WA) | Sustainable Health Review

Sustainable Health Review – More questions than answers

Wednesday April 10, 2019

The Sustainable Health Review provides high-level direction for health in WA but ultimately asks more questions than it answers, the Australian Medical Association (WA) said today.

“The real test of the government’s resolve on health reform will come on 9 May, when the State Budget will be brought down,” AMA (WA) President Dr Omar Khorshid said.

“When the Review was announced in June 2017, I welcomed it and said that health needed a ‘clear plan for the future’. This has not yet been delivered.

“This is not the blueprint for the future of health in WA.

“Instead we have been handed a high-level strategic plan with little detail and no funding forecasts. That work still has to be done and we call on the State Government to begin that planning immediately, along with adequate forward funding to allow for the implementation.

“This report will not save money but it will form the start of a discussion of our future health needs.

“The Sustainable Health Review contains many positive recommendations but all need more work and many require partnering with other organisations before implementation,” he said.

The report’s 30 recommendations have received Cabinet sign-off and Dr Khorshid said the AMA (WA) expects to see meaningful funding for implementation of some of the recommendations in the May State Budget.

“We call on Premier Mark McGowan to begin implementing some of the recommendations – such as banning junk food advertising on state assets and a floor price on alcohol immediately.

“This is just the latest report to recommend a new women’s hospital to replace the ageing King Edward Memorial Hospital. It is now time for the government to demonstrate commitment to women’s health and use the coming budget to announce that a new women’s hospital will be built on the QEII site.

“The Review focuses on keeping West Australians out of hospitals and whilst this is laudable, it is much easier to say than it is to do. It does not stop the need for the public hospital system to expand and in fact the Review acknowledges that we need to ensure sufficient capacity in the system. This means that the government needs to fund existing hospitals to open more beds and provide more care.”

The AMA (WA) welcomed the Review’s focus on transparency and culture within the health system as well as the need to foster innovation and research.

The strong recommendations on mental health, the care of older West Australians and investing in digital health are also timely and very positive.

“The Sustainable Health Review was easy to set up and easy to announce. However this Review must not be allowed to gather dust on a Health Department bookshelf or become a forgotten file on a computer drive,” Dr Khorshid said.

The government has had this report for some months now and should be ready to start acting now.

“The AMA (WA) looks forward to continuing its meetings with Minister Roger Cook to discuss this report and assisting the government to ensure we have a sustainable health system that continues to deliver world-class health for all West Australians,” Dr Khorshid said.  

For further enquiries, contact Robert Reid: 0422 553 877