ASMOF NSW welcomes the announcement of the Special Commission of Inquiry into healthcare funding in NSW and is cautiously optimistic about the Minns Government's commitment to examining the healthcare funding model to ensure it effectively supports delivering high-quality, patient-centred care to the people of NSW.
Dr Tony Sara, ASMOF NSW President, said, "The Doctors' Union welcomes the opportunity that the announcement presents to address the long-standing concerns of the Union and our members. There is a crisis across the health system, with many hospitals and parts of the broader health network being overwhelmed, under-resourced and severely neglected by the previous NSW Coalition Government.
Over the last 12 years, Western Sydney, as well as regional and rural areas of NSW, have experienced a decline in access to essential healthcare services, resulting in prolonged wait times in Emergency Departments and postponed critical surgical procedures. Dr Sara remarked, "This Inquiry should shine a light on the precarious state of public health and provide Health Minister Ryan Park and the NSW Government an avenue to display leadership in addressing staff recruitment and retention and revitalising morale."
Compounding this challenging scenario was a policy of the previous NSW government that knowingly eroded medical professionals' remuneration and working conditions, culminating in an ongoing and worsening exodus of doctors to other states or into private practice.
This departure has led to a shortage of medical staff, straining service quality and staff well-being. Dr Sara emphasised, "The scarcity of salaried doctors across NSW hospitals has been a pressing issue, exerting an impact on patient care, staff workloads, and the overall efficiency of the healthcare system. However, resorting to costly temporary and short-term employment solutions is not the answer. Failure to address interconnected concerns related to doctors' compensation, working conditions, staffing levels, attraction, and retention would represent a missed opportunity for the government."
"We commend the inquiry's emphasis on reviewing the utilisation of locum and other agency-based temporary staffing arrangements," stated Dr. Sara. The Doctors' Union seeks a sustainable funding model that equitably distributes resources across the healthcare system, effectively catering to the diverse healthcare requirements of the population.
Dr Tony Sara, President, ASMOF, 0417498691
Andrew Holland, Executive Director, ASMOF, 0405276030