Emergency department crisis 'to get worse' with federal cuts

05 June, 2014

The federal government's plan to cut $55 billion from hospital funding and introduce a GP co-payment ought to be immediately abandoned, the Health Services Union has said in a statement, as new figures reveal the immense strain emergency departments are under.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday (5 May) that more than one third of patients in five of Sydney's major hospitals are not being treated in emergency departments within four hours.

Health Services Union NSW Secretary, Gerard Hayes said a narrow focus on 'frontline' services would only worsen the situation.

"The point that federal and state Liberal health ministers constantly fail to grasp is that everyone from allied health professionals to security guards, couriers and cleaners are required to make an emergency department function efficiently and safely," Hayes said.

"Yet the state government is constantly cutting the jobs of the very people who keep emergency departments functioning.

"This crisis has been created by the $3 billion in cuts that the state Liberals have made to the health system.

"Sadly, the federal Liberals are going to make it worse by cutting $55 billion in hospital funding and introducing a GP co-payment, which will put emergency departments under even more stress.

"As a community, we need to stand together and fight for well funded, universal healthcare. Now, more than ever, it's under attack."