‘It will become unsafe’- ASMOF members speak out

17-Jul-2020

ASMOF members Dr Setthy Ung, Associate Professor Richard Cracknell and Associate Professor Miriam Levy have publicly spoken out about health inequities and staffing challenges in South-West Sydney hospitals.

In a 10 News report A/Prof Levy said that funding arrangements at Liverpool Hospital ‘essentially has us screwed’ and noted that ‘as the population grows, it will become unsafe’.

Dr Ung exposed the 500 day waitlist for colonoscopy screening, whilst A/Prof Cracknell spoke to the difficulties in recruiting staff at Campbelltown and Camden hospitals.

They were speaking publicly at hearings for the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Current and future provision of health services in the South-West Sydney Growth Region which was designed to gather information on funding and patient outcomes in South-West Sydney, and consider what level of services are needed.

Patient safety and staffing concerns were raised by a number of doctors in their submissions to the Inquiry. Liverpool Hospital Medical Staff Council, chaired by A/Prof Levy, provided detailed evidence of inadequate funding and called upon the NSW Government to listen to clinicians and provide funds urgently.

‘we are profoundly and unfairly under-resourced (see Figure 6) , with the lowest per population funding which when combined with the lowest rates of alternative health infrastructure in community, lowest private health insurance rates, and highest rates of culturally and linguistically diverse residents, mount to a significant strain on the hospital (see Figure 7) . The comparisons are irrefutable. The government asks for clinician engagement and we ask government to listen when we tell you that the health care challenges in South Western Sydney Local Health District cannot be met equitably unless we receive equitable funding.

 

..We cannot wait for buildings to be built and slowly filled as funds become available over the years. We need funds urgently, in advance of bricks and mortar. We would like our patients to receive a fair share of the health dollar so that their needs can be met.’

 

Staff specialists in the Rehabilitation Medicine service at Campbelltown and Camden Hospitals noted the:

‘overall reduction in the senior medical workforce in our Rehabilitation Medicine service compared to 12 years ago, despite increases in activity and the addition of new Rehabilitation Medicine services’.

 

It is unclear whether the doctors’ message has reached the NSW Government. Minister Hazzard denied there was inequity whilst NSW Premier Berejiklian pointed to spends on infrastructure as evidence of support for the region. You can watch the 10 News Report here and read doctors submissions to the Inquiry here.