News, media releases

Federal funding a bandaid not a cure

  • Elective surgery wait list at an all-time high
  • Will Federal money buy fewer than 60 surgeries?
  • Federal money welcome, but not the solution

Will Hodgman and Sarah Courtney must explain how they will spend the Federal funds re-announced today to bail out Tasmania’s ailing public health system.

Shadow Minister for Health Sarah Lovell said the Federal Government made an election commitment of $20 million for elective surgery and endoscopies.

“What we know is that when the first $5million of that funding was released, it paid for only 18 elective surgeries.

“Simple maths would suggest that the $15 million re-announced today would pay for only an additional 54 surgeries. Labor this week revealed secret Government figures that showed surgery waiting lists had spiralled out of control to almost 11,000 people, the highest level on record.

“And we need to remember that endoscopies are not included in the elective surgery waiting list, meaning the total number of Tasmanians waiting for elective surgery and endoscopies is even higher. 54 surgeries will not even make a dent in that number.

“While we welcome the Federal Government bringing forward money they had already committed, this is a bandaid, not a cure.”

Ms Lovell said without a long-term vision for the health system and a plan to deliver it, the situation will not improve.

“Sarah Courtney and Will Hodgman continue to oversee cuts of 15% to elective surgery, with more cuts to come from their savage $450 million of budget cuts.

“Between July and October this year 5386 patients were admitted for surgery; but over the same period 6705 Tasmanians were added to the wait list. That’s a net gain we will see continue with every week that passes.”

Ms Lovell said Sarah Courtney needs to be talking to Greg Hunt about how the Federal Government can better support communities with access to primary health care, to take the pressure off emergency departments and reduce the incidence and complexity of health issues.

“Sarah Courtney needs to put down the scalpel she’s using on the health system and focus on delivering policies that keep people well in their communities and out of hospitals for longer.”

Sarah Lovell
Shadow Health Minister