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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

NSW Health Minister deflects blame as hospital crisis escalates

Health Industry Hub | May 31, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: The NSW Opposition has attacked the Minns Labor Government for its health funding cuts, accusing it of plunging the state’s hospital system into chaos and triggering an emergency department crisis.

From January to March, NSW emergency departments were swamped with 810,201 attendances, a staggering 5.2% increase from the same period last year and the highest quarterly figure since the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) began reporting in 2010. Of those, 192,874 patients arrived by ambulance, marking a 7.0% surge and setting another grim record.

Shadow Minister for Health Matt Kean stated “Data released by the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) show a hospital system under immense strain. People are waiting longer to be seen and their health is at risk.”

He lambasted the government further, saying, “The number of people treated at emergency departments within four hours is in freefall, with the January to March quarter producing a record low. This is a consequence of Labor’s budget mismanagement. They have lost control of the Budget and as a result have embarked on a rampage of health cuts hitting palliative care, frontline services, and emergency departments.”

Yet, Health Minister Ryan Park deflected responsibility, pointing to commonwealth funding arrangements beyond his control. He blamed the escalating emergency department visits and ambulance call-outs on a dire lack of access to general practitioners (GPs).

Shadow Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor slammed the NSW government, citing BHI data that reveals longer waiting times and a burgeoning backlog of elective surgeries.

“While the Government is focused on cutting ribbons on health facilities that were delivered and funded by the former Liberal and Nationals Government, patients are left waiting in emergency departments around the state,” Ms Taylor seethed. “Across our regions, our dedicated frontline workers are holding together a healthcare system in rapid decline under the Minns Labor Government.”

Adding fuel to the fire, AMA (NSW) President Dr Kathryn Austin warned, “This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.”

BHI Chief Executive Dr Diane Watson pointed to an alternative model of care – Hospital in the Home commonly used to manage conditions like cellulitis, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia – to relieve some of the ED strain.

“Evidence shows that ‘Hospital in the Home’ offers a range of benefits for patients, including the ability to recover in familiar surroundings and reducing the risk of adverse events related to hospital admissions. The clear potential for the expansion of this model of care therefore presents an opportunity for patients, as well NSW health services to benefit from increased hospital bed capacity,” she said.

Mr Kean blasted the government’s ineptitude, saying “The Minns Labor Government has no plan to address this health crisis, which is of their own making. Shamefully, the Minister failed to even acknowledge the emergency department crisis in a pathetic attempt to sweep it under the rug. Chris Minns and Ryan Park must reverse these cuts and restore hospital funding in next month’s Budget, otherwise, this crisis will only deepen.”

Ms Taylor pressed further, “I urge Chris Minns to immediately reinstate critical health funding and stop putting politics and photo opportunities before the health of our state.”

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