AMA VICDOC SPRING 2021 - Flipbook - Page 41
It’s easy for governments
to say they are undertaking
It’s a smokescreen
and I’m calling it out.
AMA will continue to campaign for Medicare to
better support GPs to look after patients in aged
care facilities, so that more older Australians can
maintain access to their usual GP once they enter
an aged care home.
Primary healthcare professionals control or
influence approximately 80 per cent of healthcare
costs, with 83 per cent of patients seeing a GP
each year. Yet spending on general practice
accounts for only 8 per cent of total government
health spending. There is a huge opportunity to
save on expensive hospital care by investing in
primary care. We know, when we back our health
system it delivers. Now is the time to back our
Our public hospitals are in crisis. Every year
the AMA’s Public Hospital Report Card takes the
Government’s own data and reflects it back, for
all to see. Just once it would be nice to have a
reflection that looks better than the last, but it
doesn’t. It never does.
Elective surgical waiting lists continue to blow
out – with patients waiting longer than ever before
for important elective surgery. We’re supposed
to improve performance year on year – but
unfortunately we continue to go backwards.
Our bed ratio per 1,000 people aged 65 years
or older is at its worst – having declined for 26
consecutive years. Emergency department wait
times are also the worst we’ve had since 2013-14.
And my members report dangerous conditions
at the frontline. Doctors and nurses are unable to
deliver the care that patients deserve.
It’s easy for governments to say they are
undertaking “record spending” on hospitals. You
can spend a record amount and still go backwards.
How? Because of inflation and because the
population is growing and ageing, with increased
health needs. It doesn’t mean you are spending
more per person, or on improving performance,
or increasing capacity, or fostering integration
with the rest of the health system, or stopping
avoidable admissions. It’s a smokescreen and I’m
calling it out.
The funding agreement we have today doesn’t
even index against health inflation, which
combined with the cap, has resulted in $32.4
billion being stripped out of the hospital system
since 1 July 2016.
Hospitals aren’t a federal issue, nor a state
issue – they are a national issue. They need a
national response. A new funding agreement,
driven by and agreed to by National Cabinet. It is
time for a funding agreement that improves not
only efficiency, but performance. One that helps
doctors treat patients on time. One that funds
hospitals to improve not penalise them when they
fail. One that funds them to be better, not just
busier. And one that doesn’t leave people in the
back of ambulances – close to treatment, but far
from safe. We can fix our hospitals, we know what
we have to do.
It’s time to fund performance improvement,
increased bed capacity, targeted programs to
avoid unnecessary admissions and a fair cost
sharing agreement that allows the growth that is
necessary to meet the immediate health needs
During COVID-19 Australia has built a better
way of making health policy. Let’s build the same
positive change for the rest of the health system.
Let’s make Australians the healthiest people in
Dr Khorshid’s speech also covers the private health
system, future planning through medical research
and technology, mental health support for doctors,
improving healthcare access in rural and remote
communities, and the need for a sugar tax.
Click here to access
the full transcript
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