Budget a step in right direction

21 Jun 2022


AMA Queensland President Dr Maria Boulton

 

AMA Queensland acknowledges the record health investment in today’s state budget as a step in the right direction with many positives, but in reality the 5.6 per cent increase in the next 12 months is only just keeping pace with inflation.

“We are pleased to see that the state government has listened AMA Queensland’s calls for urgent action to address hospital access block and ambulance ramping by investing in thousands of new beds,” AMA Queensland President Dr Maria Boulton said.

“Queensland’s health system was already at capacity before COVID, and has only kept going because of the dedication and altruism of exhausted and over-stretched doctors, nurses, paramedics and all healthcare workers.

“The government promised that this budget would be a record investment in health, and it had to be.

“The addition of more than 2,500 new beds is most definitely welcomed but it is going to take six years for some communities to get the beds they need now.

“We acknowledge that close to 290 of these beds will be online in the second half of next year and we commend the government on this accelerated infrastructure investment.

“But we must continue this pace and momentum so that hospitals like Redcliffe aren’t waiting until 2028 for the beds they needed yesterday.

“Rapid access services to provide alternative pathways to hospital admissions and care, and patient flow initiatives to move patients through hospitals faster to free up ED beds were among the recommendations of our Ramping Roundtable Action Plan, and we welcome the government’s investment in these.

“We remain concerned about investment in satellite hospitals as they are only hospital by name and certainly not by nature. They won’t reduce the load on actual emergency departments in actual hospitals.

“The investment in mental health is half of what is needed, however, you can’t run mental health services without the mental health workforce. Queensland has the lowest investment in mental health per capita in Australia. We need significantly more investment now and a commitment in prevention of mental health issues.

“Digital health funding is a positive but again falls short of what is needed, and timelines must be accelerated. Information-sharing, accurate patient records and health management software are fundamental to efficient and safe patient care.

“We are disappointed that there is no increase in funding for palliative care. Queenslanders deserve comfort and dignity at the end of life.

“The government acknowledged that closing the gap for First Nations peoples is a priority but there are no targeted initiatives in this budget.

“We acknowledge that planning has commenced on a workforce strategy but this has to be done in collaboration with the commonwealth and stakeholders to ensure the training supply meets the workforce needs.

“We don’t want to see short-term fixes that undermine the supply of doctors to regional communities.

“What Queenslanders need is more doctors and access to them wherever they live in the state.”

In its budget submission, AMA Queensland called for an urgent investment of more than $2.34 billion into the health system over the next 12 months, not the next six years, to deliver five key priority actions.

  • Implement the Ramping Roundtable Action Plan, starting with 1,500 more hospital beds across the state (>$1.2 billion)
  • Fill fundamental gaps in mental health ($700 million)
  • Address unmet need in palliative care ($120.35 million)
  • Make medical workplaces safe and healthy ($1.67 million)
  • Fix digital healthcare technologies ($313 million).

“We are pleased to see that some of these recommendations have been taken up and we will continue to work with the government to provide the best healthcare for all Queenslanders,” Dr Boulton concluded.

 

Published: 21 Jun 2022