Australian state gov't urged to boost funding for elective surgery

14:28, May 31, 2010      

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The Australian Medical Association ( AMA) on Monday urged the New South Wales (NSW) government to boost funding for elective surgery in next week's budget, after releasing a survey questioning official waiting lists.

The survey of NSW public hospital surgeons found that only 20 percent believed official waiting time figures reflected waiting times, while 38 percent reported an increase in cancelled elective surgery in the past 12 months.

A third of those cancellations were caused by a reduction in theatre time or sessions, and a third by a reduction in surgical beds, the survey revealed.

Theatre closures were also a major problem, with 74 percent of those surveyed saying their hospitals shut down theatres for more than four weeks a year.

With the state budget to be handed down on June 8, the AMA is calling on the government to fund more hospital beds for elective surgery, and to provide more money to reduce theatre closures.

Survey author and AMA councillor Associate Professor Brian Owler said the health system needed a 9.6 percent boost in funding in the budget just to meet rising costs.

The survey showed there had been a deterioration in elective surgery waiting lists despite increased funding, he noted.

"We need to see that there is an increase in funding sufficient to meet the growing costs of health," Dr Owler said.

Source: Xinhua


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