Hospitals in crisis ahead of Election
The crisis in our public hospitals shows no signs of letting up,
and Federal and State Governments are being pressured to act urgently
to save lives. Doctors are speaking out to the media
on unsafe staffing levels, ambulance ramping, delays in elective surgery and the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
The Industrial team at ASMOF are addressing these issues at the
workplace level within Local Health Districts, and we currently have
disputes running at SCHN, SWSLHD and WSLHD concerning safe staffing and
fair working conditions for our members
However, we cannot keep putting out spot fires – our hospitals need to be better resourced.
NSW Health currently has a distorted picture of doctors' hours, as the
frequent overtime doctors perform is largely invisible and often unpaid.
Accounting for this work and upgrading doctors' Awards to reflect the
reality of our working lives will require long-term investment in our
health system that will ultimately benefit patients. Our Award
negotiations are one way that can pressure the NSW Government to deliver
The bigger picture that needs to be addressed is the division of State and Federal funding for health, and ASMOF backs health leaders call for an urgent hospital summit to address the funding gaps.
President of ACEM and ASMOF member Dr Clare Skinner has said that
doctors at the coalface were desperate for "an integrated funding
mechanism that stops the cost and blame-shifting".
However, Morrison is keen to stick to the current hospital funding agreement
the federal government and the states and territories, under which the
growth in costs is capped at 6.5 per cent a year, and the Commonwealth
pays 45 per cent of the increase. So far, only the Greens have committed
to the 50/50 funding growth model for public hospitals that health
leaders are calling for.
The cost pressures of COVID-19 in NSW have also been exposed in the NSW Audit Office report
released today. The report found that since the COVID-19 pandemic hit
NSW in January 2020 and until 30 June 2021, $7.5 billion was spent by
state government agencies for health and economic stimulus, which was
funded mainly by borrowings.
Federal AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid has called upon the federal
government to extend the COVID-19 funding arrangement, under which the
Commonwealth pays half of hospitals' pandemic-related costs - which is
due to expire in September.