New AMA report card reveals uncomfortable truths about Australia’s health system

Australian Medical Association

Planned surgery wait times in Australia’s public hospitals are now the longest on record, a new AMA report card has found.

Australia’s health ministers have been presented with grim evidence of the country’s public hospital logjam ahead of their crucial meeting today.

The AMA has released its annual Public Hospital Report Card, showing planned surgery wait times in Australia’s public hospitals are now the longest on record, and emergency departments remain strangled by access block.

The AMA wrote to all health ministers ahead of their meeting, saying the findings highlight the need for all governments to take further action against the logjam.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson said the annual report card, first published in 2007, clearly demonstrated the need for urgent action on top of existing planned changes to the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA).

“Last year we welcomed the federal government’s announcement of a significant public funding boost to the hospital funding agreement and the decision to replace the 6.5 per cent funding growth cap with a more generous approach,” Professor Robson said.

“This announcement followed tireless AMA advocacy for funding reform, but it doesn’t come into effect until 2025. Urgent action is needed now.”

The report card found Australians are now waiting almost twice as long on average for planned surgery than they were 20 years ago, while the national proportion of individuals receiving category two planned surgeries on time has again fallen to the lowest point of record.

Emergency departments, too, remain under stress as they are strangled by access block.

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