The NSW Liberal Government’s failure to appropriately fund and resource Hunter and Central Coast hospitals has forced these regions to endure a health crisis.
The fact that these regions are in the midst of a crisis has been echoed by the latest report released by the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) and recent strike action taken by Hunter and Central Coast nurses, midwives, and health staff.
The October to December 2021 Quarterly Report highlighted that wait times for Emergency Department treatment within both health districts had significantly increased from the year prior.
There has also been a dramatic drop in the number of elective surgeries taking place. In the Hunter, 7,121 elective surgeries were performed between October and December 2021, compared to 8,137 during October and December 2020. On the Coast, 853 less elective surgeries were completed between October and December 2021 than October and December 2020.
The increases in emergency treatment and elective surgery wait times were made prior to Liberal Government funding cuts to GP Access after-hours clinics that saw the closure of the Calvary Mater clinic on Christmas Eve 2021 and the weekend operating hours of the Belmont clinic halved from January.
Funding cuts and a lack of resources has had a detrimental impact on the health of patients as well as nurses and midwives.
Earlier this year, NSW nurses, midwives and health staff across the state went on strike for the first time in a decade for better pay rates and safe staffing levels. On 5 May they took further industrial action as they are burnt out because of being understaffed and working 20 hour shifts.
Ms Yasmin Catley MP – Member for Swansea said ‘it is disgraceful that the people of the Hunter and Central Coast are enduring a health crisis because the NSW Liberal Government has failed to sufficiently fund and resource our hospitals and listen to nurses pleas’.
‘The October to December 2021 Quarterly Report and recent industrial action taken by health staff proves this’.
‘The longer Hunter and Central Coast patients are forced to wait for treatment, the longer their health and well-being is jeopardised’.
‘It is time for the NSW Government to care for the people and health workers of the Hunter and Central Coast by increasing funding and resources in our local hospitals’.