With new laws introduced to limit animal suffering in hospitals, a growing number of hospitals are seeing their operating budgets reduced or even eliminated.
As the health system becomes more reliant on the healthcare sector, hospitals are increasingly losing revenue, with the number of Australian hospitals down more than 70 per cent over the past decade.
In the past few years, the numbers of Australian health facilities with more than 50 beds have dropped by more than 20 per cent, and that is expected to continue for the next few years.
The decline in hospital revenue has led some hospitals to lay off staff, and the closure of more than 1,000 hospitals since 2010.
But a growing body of research has shown that there is a link between increased hospital capacity and improved patient outcomes.
The Australian Medical Association has warned that the country’s health system is now at risk of becoming increasingly fragmented.
And it has also been linked to a lack of good information about the health of the people receiving care.
The AMA has warned against the risk of an oversupply of doctors and hospitals, and says there are ways to ensure that hospitals are not operating at capacity.
The Association’s CEO, Dr Peter McQuade, says that if the health sector is to remain competitive, more information needs to be available to patients and healthcare professionals.
Dr McQuades says he understands that hospitals must be able to respond to changing conditions, but that the real issue is ensuring that there are enough staff in the system to care for the increasing number of people that need care.
He says hospitals have become a bit like a public utility, and has said that “it’s time for the public utility to take over”.
What does the AMA say about the impact of oversupplying?
Dr McQades says the AMA is concerned that the situation is becoming unsustainable.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for hospitals to meet demand.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t do our bit to try to meet some of the needs of the community,” he says.”
But it’s time that we look at the bigger picture and try to find the solution to the problem rather than trying to fix the problem ourselves.”
The AMA is calling on the Australian Health Care Council to recommend a plan to limit hospital operating costs, and to set out the role that the AMA and other stakeholders can play in making sure hospitals can operate efficiently.
Topics:health,health-policy,healthcare-facilities,health,federal-government,government-and-politics,health:community-and.org.au,canberra-2600,act,australiaContact Anna GuttmanMore stories from Australia