News National AMA public hospital report shows ‘woeful’ and underfunded system

AMA public hospital report shows ‘woeful’ and underfunded system

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A spokesperson said the Department was working closely with Ballarat Base Hospital, and is undertaking all necessary public health actions. Photo: ABC Photo: ABC
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Patients are getting stuck in emergency rooms and elective surgery wait times have gone backwards 15 years, an Australian Medical Association report has revealed.

The report shows the performance of the hospitals is virtually stagnant, despite an increasing and ageing population and this is keeping facilities in a constant state of emergency.

Bed number ratios have remained static and there has been no improvement in waiting times over the past three years.

“To put it bluntly it’s woeful,” AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said.

“We’ve seen most states and territories go backwards in terms of ED [emergency department] waiting times, we’ve seen them go backwards in terms of elective surgery times.”

All Australian government agreed to a target of 80 per cent of emergency patients seen within clinically recommended triage times met by 2012-13.

The nation’s hospitals have failed on this measure and are getting worse, with only 67 per cent of urgent emergency department patients seen within the recommended 30 minutes.

Emergency department patients are waiting longer than they did in 2013. Photo: AMA

Elective surgery wait times have increased, spiking to 37 days — the longest since 2001.

The lack of progress across the nation is shown in the state and territory report card.

Hospital wait times for elective surgery have “substantially deteriorated” over the last decade. Photo: AMA

“Across 48 key measures there were 40 ‘fails’, only three positives and five no scores because data was not provided,” Dr Gannon said.

After these disheartening results, the AMA is calling for better long-term funding for hospitals.

“This shows an overstretched and over-stressed public hospital system that is suffering from funding that is not only inadequate but also uncertain,” Dr Gannon said.

“It’s absolutely essential at COAG that the Commonwealth, the states, the territories get together and work out a method of providing certain and adequate long-term funding.”

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