‘Public hospitals in logjam’: The critical condition of Australia’s healthcare system revealed

Feb 01, 2023
The AMA are calling on the Federal Government to address the nation's current logjam in hospitals and "improve hospital performance". Source: Getty Images.

The troubling state of Australia’s healthcare system has been laid bare in a new report from the Australian Medical Association (AMA), revealing a logjam in public hospitals across the country.

As part of their Australian Public Hospitals in Logjam report, the AMA revealed that only three out of 201 public hospitals that were analysed are delivering care within the recommended timeframes.

In the previous year, 15 out of 201 hospitals received “green lights” across all performance indicators.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson cited workforce shortages, the unavailability of hospital beds when needed, increased ambulance ramping and emergency departments stretched beyond capacity as reasons for the worsening logjam.

“The AMA’s report: Australian public hospitals in logjam, which is based on Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, paints a worsening picture of emergency department and essential surgery performance,” Robson said.

In light of the alarming findings, Robson urged Australians to visit the campaign website to share their hospital stories and to look up the performance of their local hospital.

“The AMA’s logjam finder is the only place national hospital data is presented in this way and we’re asking people to tell us their stories and email their MPs so state and federal governments can hear their voices,” Robson said.

“When National Cabinet sits down on Friday, we want ministers to tackle the backlog of surgeries that we estimate will top half a million at the end of June, because it’s devastating for every person waiting and dealing with months and months of pain.

“It’s unlikely hospitals will be able to expand their capacity to address this backlog if there is no intervention. We are calling for a new national plan funded by all governments but with an up-front advance payment provided by the Commonwealth to support state and territory governments to expand their hospital capacity, including the workforce, to address the elective surgery backlog.”

Robson said the AMA are calling on the Federal Government to address the nation’s current logjam in hospitals and “improve hospital performance”.

“For their part, the states and territories need to commit to improve hospital performance by re-investing that extra five per cent,” Robson said.

“And both need to fund additional ongoing performance improvement, capacity expansion, and ways to reduce avoidable admissions.”

Those who are interested in how their hospital is performing are advised to enter their postcode into the AMA’s hospital logjam finder.

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