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AMA Victoria is concerned about funding cuts in our hospitals

10 January 2013

The recent reductions in public hospital funding are placing Victoria’s health services under serious pressure and threaten to undermine all Victorians’ access to public health care.

Cuts in services are being instituted across a number of Victorian hospitals, and AMA Victoria is seriously concerned that this is affecting front-line staff, resulting in bed closures and delays in elective surgery.

Overall funding of public hospitals in Victoria needs to be significantly higher in order to meet the demands of the Victorian population – these cuts will make an already bad situation worse.

Recent media reports have alluded to cuts to Victoria’s health budget of around $600 million.

AMA Victoria accepts the assurance of Health Minister David Davis that state health funding has in fact increased in recent budgets and is set to increase again in the coming year. The figure quoted refers to cuts and savings in some programs and to reductions in departmental staff.

However, increases in state funding will not be sufficient to meet demand, and recent clawbacks and reductions in commonwealth funding is also directly impacting on the number and quality of services hospitals will be able to provide.

“When funding cuts lead to job losses in front-line staff including doctors and nurses, the waiting lists will get longer” says AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone. “There is no point in tying funding to ambitious targets for patient throughput, then cutting back on funds. Doctors and nurses will continue to provide high quality care, but the additional strain on the system will inevitably lead to problems.”

“While we understand the need for fiscal responsibility, quality healthcare is a top priority in the community. Victoria’s hospital system is already the most efficient in the country, and there simply isn’t room for more cost savings. We urge the state and federal governments to resolve their funding differences as a matter of urgency.”

For further information please contact Luke Buesnel on 0437 450 506.

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