WAGGA’S healthcare services have been backed by local member Daryl Maguire despite the Australian Medical Association painting a bleak picture of the nation’s hospitals in its latest report.
Despite AMA head Brian Owler this week warning hospitals faced an uncertain future with funding streams from state and federal governments under a cloud, Mr Maguire believes the only way is up for Wagga’s healthcare system.
“The last set of indicators I looked at, there were improvements right across the state, including in Wagga,” Mr Maguire said.
“With the investment in infrastructure that’s occuring, the investment we’ve made in frontline staff, I expect those improvements will continue.”
In its report, the AMA was particularly scathing of the federal government’s funding to states to help prop up public hospitals. Associate Professor Owler said $1.8 billion had been stripped out public hospital funding in last year’s federal budget.
That assertion has been challenged by federal member for Riverina Michael McCormack, who has insisted hospitals are the sole responsibility of state governments.
“The federal government’s always a good whipping horse for organisations to criticise,” Mr McCormack said. “Public hospitals are the domain of state governments.”
Having visited Griffith, where he turned the first sod on a new hospital for the city, attended health meetings in Narrandera and inspected the new Wagga Base Hospital in the past fortnight, Mr McCormack insists healthcare is in a good place across the region.
“We can always do more in the health space, but by and large, hospitals and health are being well looked after by the state Coalition government,” he said.
The report shows the state’s emergency treatment waiting times are falling, with more than 75 per cent of urgent cases at the emergency department seen within 30 minutes statewide, but elective surgery times remain high at around 50 days – 18 days higher than wait times a decade ago.
“I think we’ve made significant progress in four short years,” Mr Maguire said. “Much of that progress must be credited to those nurses, doctors and administrators that work tirelessly.”
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