Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AMA Report Card on Public Hospitals

There has been considerable interest in the recently released report from the AMA on the state of public hospitals. Their report, Public Hospital Report Card (2008) is available on their website 708kb Pdf. The AMA have recognised that our public hospitals are under pressure and are calling for an immediate $3 billion injection of federal funds.

This has had coverage in major newspapers including the Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times.

The AMA is quite right to draw attention to the bottlenecks occurring in Australian hospitals, but it is a bit behind the game. At the national level the Commonwealth has established a Health and Hospitals Reform Commission to address these problems, and locally the ACT Government is implementing a major capital asset redevelopment plan covering both TCH and Calvary Hospitals

Consumers will welcome additional beds which ensure that they are not caught up for long stays on trolleys in emergency departments when they need to be admitted, but we have been saying for some time that many of the new beds needed could be lower acuity beds at step down facilities, enabling convalescing patients to be discharged earlier form the acute care hospitals.

If the AMA really wants to ensure that taxpayers get best value for our health dollar, they will also be advocating for health care to be provided in the most appropriate setting, which means more primary health care and preventative services, and not just more acute care beds.

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