Health cuts: warning of impact on patients

Ophthalmological services at Rockingham General Hospital have been cut.       
       www.communitypix.com.au   d348328
Ophthalmological services at Rockingham General Hospital have been cut.               www.communitypix.com.au d348328

Health Minister Kim Hames confirmed last week that about 1100 jobs would need to be cut from the South Metropolitan Health Service if the Government was to bring spending to sustainable levels.

Rockingham eye patients will have to travel to Fremantle for surgery from February after RGH’s ophthalmology department was cut.

Dr Hames said changes were necessary to bring WA’s health spending closer in line with other states and said hospitals there were able to do the same amount of work at less cost.

“We’ve seen the amount of deficit the state has got,” Dr Hames said.

“We’ve seen health go from just under 25 per cent of the total state budget to now well over 28 per cent. If we don’t trim our efficiencies in health then we’re going to have a shortage of funding in police and in teaching and in a whole range of other areas.

“There’s only so much of the bucket to go around.”

Dr Gannon said examples of cuts impacting patient care were being felt across WA’s hospital system week by week.

“Doctors and nurses are doing all they can to provide the best possible care to their patients, despite the lack of support by the State Government and the uncertainty surrounding their job security,” he said.

“We have seen withdrawal of ophthalmological services at Rockingham, numerous problems at Fiona Stanley Hospital with the Serco contract, and the proposed closure of the Intensive Care Unit at Fremantle Hospital.

“It’s clear that the system is already under enormous strain and we cannot afford to see cuts to the numbers of doctors or nurses because of governmental mismanagement.”