Quarantine health services and delay building projects: AMA (WA)

Quarantine health services and delay building projects: AMA (WA)

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Western Australian health services must be quarantined from any spending cuts – even if it means delaying major infrastructure works, the AMA (WA) said today.


“Today’s announcement by the Treasurer is like a return to the bad old days when the state’s accountants would turn to health spending to find money when funds were tight,” AMA (WA) President Associate Professor David Mountain said.


“The State Government should delay the new stadium and the waterfront development before cutting any health spending or health services, he said.


On today’s announcement by the Treasurer, the Health Department would need to find around $150 million in savings each year – which is impossible to achieve without it having a substantial and negative impact on health services.


“The Premier and the Treasurer should take the scalpel to its non-hospital capital works program and delay spending on such capital works as the stadium and the waterfront development, A/Prof Mountain said.


“We certainly understand the reasons for the State Government’s announcement but we strongly believe that health has already made substantial efficiency gains in recent years. This has made WAs’ health system the envy of Australia. Now is not the time to take the foot off the pedal and to watch those gains go backwards from further penny-pinching.”


The AMA (WA) has called for the Federal Labor Government to fix the GST payment system and to stop unfairly disadvantaging Western Australia.
If this is not achieved the State Government has no choice but to find the money by cutting planned non-essential spending programs, external consultancies and bureaucratic waste in management agencies”.


“Health workers now do substantially more with substantially less than ever before. It is like kicking health in the guts when we are already down,” A/Prof Mountain said.
“We have a growing, ageing population and each week we attract more than 1000 people to our shores. It is completely ludicrous to suggest that the health sector can tolerate any further cuts on current spending plans. If anything we need to be planning for an expansion of beds and how we can service this new population”


“I am very distrustful whenever I read the claim that there will be no cuts made in frontline services in health, as it has never been the case in past rounds of top slicing budgets” A/Prof Mountain said.


It has always lead in the past to wasteful and short sighted cuts to quality programmes, support staff, teaching and research without which patient care suffers, staff morale sinks and progress founders.

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