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Clinical Networks need more funding to improve health care

29 September, 2006

Improvements in health care delivery in WA through the establishment of Clinical Networks will only be achieved if they have the necessary funding and resources to do the job properly and are listened to, the AMA (WA) has said.

"The Government has been big on planning but short on delivery," said association President Prof Geoff Dobb.

"The Clinical Networks bring together some of the finest medical brains in WA, but unless they get proper support and their ideas aren't left languishing in some bureaucrats' in-tray, then nothing will change.

"The health system is in serious trouble and despite almost six years in Government and lots of committees and reports, very little has been achieved in 'fixing' health."

Prof Dobb said it had taken the Government several years to realise it needed to listen to the views of doctors and specialists working at the coal face.

"The Clinical Networks provide the opportunity for these experts to have meaningful input into the reform program," he said.

"But their involvement has to be more than an elaborate public relations exercise simply designed to create the perception of progress.

"Their advice must be heeded."

Prof Dobb said a tangible step for the Government to take in providing the Clinical Networks with a solid foundation, was to tackle the disgraceful equipment crisis in WA's public hospitals.

"Making doctors work with obsolete equipment that is long past its use-by date is not only putting lives at risk, it's impacting on surgical waiting lists and demoralising staff and reducing the efficiency of our public hospitals," he said.

"Replacing this equipment should be one of the Government's first priorities in the reform process."

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