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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

NSW health system ‘crumbling’ under surging demand and funding cuts by Minns Government

Health Industry Hub | April 5, 2024 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: The latest quarterly report released by the NSW Bureau of Health Information has underscored the dire state of the NSW health system, emphasising an urgent need for increased funding to alleviate mounting pressures.

Dr Michael Bonning, President of the Australian Medical Association (NSW), expressed grave concerns, stating, “These figures should be a wakeup call for the NSW government. The health system is crumbling under unprecedented demand, while staff try to manage after funding cuts delivered in the Minns government first budget.”

He highlighted the inadequacy of the September budget, which saw a meagre 0.87% increase, amounting to a budget cut of 7% after accounting for health inflation estimated at 8%.

The latest BHI quarterly figures, encompassing the period from October 1st to December 31st, 2023, depict a concerning landscape for the healthcare system. Ambulance activity surged to unprecedented levels, totalling 379,705 responses, with a notable 34.8% increase in “highest priority – P1A” responses for patients facing life-threatening conditions.

Emergency Department (ED) attendances followed suit, reaching 798,813, representing a 2.9% rise from pre-pandemic levels, alongside record highs of 6,649 triage 1 presentations and 119,389 triage 2 presentations. Despite efforts, 10% of patients endured prolonged wait times exceeding 10 hours and 30 minutes, a stark departure from pre-pandemic norms.

Admitted patient episodes witnessed a 4.6% uptick, totalling 497,870, while acute same-day patient episodes saw a 5.9% increase, reaching 230,643. Furthermore, the average length of stay for overnight non-acute episodes surged by 12.8%, standing at 16.7 days, highlighting escalating pressures on the healthcare infrastructure.

AMA NSW is calling on the Minns government to commit to a substantial increase in health funding in the upcoming budget

“Our drastically overburdened health workforce cannot continue to perform under the current conditions. Without an urgent injection of health dollars, it is patients who will suffer as they wait longer in the Emergency Department and are forced to endure longer stays in hospital,” Dr Bonning stressed.

Echoing these concerns, a Western Sydney surgeon lamented the toll on hospital staff, citing increased complexity, severity, and volume of patients. “Budgets aren’t matched to population growth, so staff are expected to do the same amount with fewer resources,” the surgeon noted.

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