Media release

Public hospitals remain in crisis ahead of 2025 funding agreement

The Australian Medical Association is calling for urgent action by all governments to address the growing planned surgery waitlist, exit block and widespread ambulance ramping.

Hospital emergency department sign

The call for action is outlined in the AMA’s pre-budget submission on public hospitals, launched ahead of a meeting of leaders from medical colleges, associations and societies in Canberra today.

The meeting, hosted by the AMA, will be a chance for medical leaders to discuss the most pressing issues affecting Australia’s health system, including pressure on public hospitals.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson said wait times for planned surgery continued to blow out in the last financial year, with more than one in three patients waiting longer than the clinically recommended time for essential surgeries, including heart valve replacements and coronary artery bypass surgeries.

“Australians continue to suffer on incredibly long surgery waiting lists and ramping remains a critical issue across the country, which I am sure any government would agree is entirely unacceptable,” Professor Robson said.

Ahead of the May federal budget, the AMA acknowledges the significant public hospital funding boost announced by the federal government last December.

By increasing its share of funding for public hospital activity and replacing the 6.5 per cent funding growth cap with a more “generous approach”, the federal government will reportedly inject $13.2 billion of extra funds into the system between 2025 and 2030.

The new agreement with state and territory governments came off the back of the AMA’s tireless advocacy through the Clear the Hospital Logjam campaign.

But Professor Robson said the new agreement would not come into effect until next year.

“In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of patients are waiting for planned surgeries and Australians are spending far too long ramped outside hospitals,” Professor Robson said.

The AMA’s federal budget submission says a combined $4.12 billion, split between federal and state governments, is required to address the backlog until the new funding agreement is implemented.

Professor Robson commended the federal government for taking the lead on public hospital funding.

“The strong commitment from the federal government in lifting public hospital funding is a very welcome start to tackling the problems that are keeping our hospitals in logjam,” Professor Robson said.

“Once the new agreement takes effect next year, it will be vital for state and territory governments to use this extra investment wisely by increasing hospital capacity.”

Read the AMA’s pre-budget submissions

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