State Budget heavy on missed opportunities: AMA (WA)

State Budget heavy on missed opportunities: AMA (WA)


Thursday 17 May 2012

The WA State Budget is a text-book example of missed opportunities, the Australian
Medical Association (WA) said today.

 

“The Government has missed the opportunity to future proof WA by failing to provide
adequate funding increases, it has missed the opportunity to prepare for a fast growing and
ageing population and it has missed the opportunity to provide adequate research funding.

 

Also missed was the chance to commence planning for a new King Edward Hospital
recommended more than 20 years ago,” AMA (WA) President Associate Professor David
Mountain said.

 

“This is a treading water budget as the health system shows signs of drowning under
increasing demand. The proposed overall spending increase of 7.3% will only barely cope
with health inflation and will not come close to meeting the massive increases in demand.

 

After welcoming last year’s budget and praising an increase in funding for health, it is
unfortunate that we cannot do the same this year,” he said

 

“In fact, this year’s Budget is particularly worrying because the Health Department’s own
figures released just this week show demand is growing at a huge pace,” A/Prof Mountain
said.

 

“To put it bluntly, there is a tsunami in demand being experienced by the WA health system
and this Budget shows WA is going to struggle to deal with it.”

 

“Even when the new Fiona Stanley Hospital begins operating in 2014, we will still be short
of beds,” he said. Every health professional has done more as demand has grown but this
cannot continue forever.”

 

We welcome the free child health check and community health, but this will not provide for
the major increases in demand in health, A/Prof Mountain said.

 

“By releasing a treading water budget as the tide rises, the Government has almost
guaranteed health will become a major issue in the run up to next year’s state election. The
Government runs the risk of suffering serious electoral pain as a result,” A/Prof Mountain
said.

 

“Just when things were starting to look up for WA health, it appears that the Government
seems to have their head in the sand regarding the current and projected demands on the
health system.”

 

“Patients, health services and health professionals will suffer as a result,” he said.

 

The AMA (WA) also said the reference in the budget to rural and regional health was
minimal and it was disappointing that some capital developments such as the Karratha
Health Campus had been deferred.

 

This is another example of missed opportunity. There are major health needs in North West
WA and this budget does little to boost health services in this area,” he said.

 

Royal Perth Hospital clinicians would almost certainly be disappointed by the scaling back of
the previous proposal to reconfigure Royal Perth Hospital to what appears to be little more
than a refurbishment, A/Prof Mountain said.

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