NSW hospital systems in serious jeopardy as health spending pressures rise, health Minister Jonathan Coleman says.
He says the crisis is caused by the Government’s lack of funding and funding pressures in the community health system.
“The funding and the financial pressures that we have had on the community healthcare system are severe,” he said.
This is the third time the Government has faced questions about the state of its healthcare systems.
The first time was in December last year when Health Minister Jonathan Cohen was asked by the ABC’s AM program about the number of doctors and nurses in the NSW system.
“We’ve got approximately 7,000, 7,500 nurses and doctors,” he replied.
In January, Mr Cohen said there were 4,000 fewer doctors and nurse staff than there were a year earlier.
Earlier this month, the ABC revealed the Government was running a massive $1.2 billion deficit for 2016-17, more than twice the $600 million deficit it was forecasting in January.
Mr Coleman says he is confident that the Government will come through the budget and the crisis will be over soon.
But he says the Government is taking steps to keep the hospital system stable.
“It’s just not going to happen,” he told ABC radio this morning.
”We’re working hard to keep our hospitals in good working order and that is what we’re doing, but we have a budget challenge, so we’ve got to take a tough decision, which is to do what we can to get those numbers back.
“He said that while there was a lack of resources in the hospital systems, the Government had made significant changes.
Dr Cohen said in the past four years, there have been several major changes to the hospital model, including the introduction of the Integrated Care System (ICIS), which aims to help hospitals manage the impact of COVID-19.
ICIS also allows hospitals to set aside space for care in remote areas and has also brought in new strategies to manage overcrowding.
Dr Cohen says hospitals need to be able to provide better care in the emergency departments.”
The ICIS model allows us to have a range of services that are delivered through our hospitals,” he explained.”
If you’ve got a lot of patients who are not doing well in the ICU, that’s not really the place for us to be.
“He said the ICIS models also mean that hospitals have to be more efficient and better staffed to be a good option for patients with chronic conditions.
A hospital’s emergency department has the capacity to treat about 150 patients, including patients with serious medical conditions such as pneumonia.
The Department of Health is also investing in more staff in the hospitals, with a total of 30 nurses on staff.
On Tuesday, the State Government revealed that the NSW Government would spend $1 million in a bid to boost hospital funding by $400 million over four years.
Dr Coleman said the Government would also be looking to spend $600m over four more years to improve the health of the state’s primary care population.
Under the Government-to-Government Health Strategy, the budget for 2016 is expected to be $3.5 billion.
At the same time, the Budget for 2019-20 is expected be $4.5bn.