THE State Budget fails to provide for WA’s health future as the Government is yet to finalise its Sustainable Health Review (SHR), according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
The review was announced in June 2017 to ‘prioritise the delivery of patient-centred, high quality and financially sustainable healthcare’ and expected to be finalised in November.
AMA (WA) president Dr Omar Khorshid said an interim report into the review was “disappointing and in some parts incorrect”.
“The 2018-19 State Budget was presented as one that provides for a ‘steady and real course back to surplus’,” he said.
“We’ve seen an overall cut in the health budget but a small rise in money given to hospital services.
“However even this is a cut in real terms.”
Dr Khorshid said the $8.8 billion allocated to health for 2018-19 represented a 2.4 per cent reduction on the 2017-18 estimated actual spending, which was $9 billion.
“Health spending now represents 29 per cent of the total WA budget,” he said.
“The State Government is relying on the SHR to deliver any sort of plan for the future of WA health, yet the interim report of that review has many problems and doesn’t augur well for that future.
“We badly need a plan for the future of health services in WA.
“The only real new money in the budget for health has come from the Federal Government in its announcements last week, especially for health services at Joondalup.”
Dr Khorshid was especially concerned about an 83 per cent cut in infrastructure spending between this 2017-18 and 2021-22.
“This is completely unacceptable,” he said.
“There is no specific spending outlined for King Edward Memorial Hospital or Graylands Hospital and almost no funding for the future of Royal Perth Hospital.
“We need a total plan for health that delivers on emergency care and elective surgery, with real increases in spending that will cope with rising demand.”