Chronic underfunding of our public hospitals is putting us all at risk.

A lack of government funding is resulting in public hospitals that are in logjam – with ambulances ramping, emergency departments at capacity, and long waits for essential surgery. There are just not enough beds or staff to deal with the demand.

This isn’t just a COVID-19 problem. And it isn’t new. The performance of our public hospitals has been declining for several years and after years of continued neglect, they are now at breaking point.

Our hospitals no longer have capacity to surge and meet increased demand – which means exhausted hospital staff must work harder and patients have their care delayed, sometimes for many months. But their care can’t wait any longer. Urgent action is needed now.

Our health system needs to be funded for the future, to fix the current logjams, and keep Australians healthy and out of hospitals.

The logjam in numbers. View the statistics
Our hospitals were in crisis before the pandemic, and now they are at the breaking point. We need a plan to fix this, and we need it now.
Prof Steve Robson
Federal AMA President
Tell us your story
We want to hear your experiences with Australian public hospitals.
Share your experience

Shining a light on the elective surgery 'hidden' waiting list

When a patient needs to see a medical specialist other than a general practitioner, they can either be referred to see a specialist in a public hospital outpatient clinic, or to specialist at a private practice

Read report

AMA Ambulance Ramping Report Card

AMA's Ambulance Ramping Report Card demonstrates that every state and territory is failing to meet its performance targets for the time it takes to transfer patients from an ambulance to the Emergency Department.

Read report
Will you ask your MP to take action?
Send an email to your local MP asking them to ensure our public hospitals have the funding they need to keep us safe. Add any personal information that will help illustrate to our MPs just how important adequate funding is for our hospitals.
Sample email

Dear MP,

I’m writing to you to express my real concern about my local hospital.

My local hospital is in logjam, and so are other hospitals right across the country.

Ambulances ramping, overcrowded emergency departments, growing surgery waitlists - these are all signs of a public hospital system in crisis.

I’m concerned about what will happen if I, or one of my loved ones, needs access to the hospital system.

I’m also concerned about my broader local community and the lives that are at risk.

Australia’s doctors and other medical workers are world-class. But in order to keep us safe and healthy, they need an adequately funded, world-class hospital system. At the moment, that’s not the case.

This isn’t about COVID-19. COVID-19 has obviously exacerbated the problem, but my hospital was in logjam well before COVID-19 hit our communities and it will continue to remain this way unless your government delivers adequate funding for the future.

Please, help clear the logjam in my local hospital before it’s too late. Commit to future funding for our public hospitals.

Thank you.

Our hospitals are doing their best, but they are in logjam and it’s costing lives.
Dr Sarah Whitelaw
Federal AMA Emergency Medicine Representative
We are now in a situation where we can’t safely manage the combined clinical risks of increasing demand and access block. The impact on staff is profound. I can see stress and burnout across all areas of the system.
AMA member, Victoria
I’ve had patients who are prepared for surgery that day forced to wait all day only to get sent home, and this can occur multiple times, with repeated fasting. Inevitably the waiting list grows and grows.
AMA member, Western Australia
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Read more about the situation here.

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