on air now

‘An appalling state of affairs’: AMA slams government management of Victorian hospitals as crisis builds

The Victorian president of the Australian Medical Association has slammed government management of the state’s healthcare system.

It comes amid news that more than 20,000 Victorians will have their surgeries further delayed, as budget cuts cause hospital waiting lists to blow out by up to 97 per cent at some hospitals.

“This is an appalling state of affairs for sick and vulnerable Victorians,” AMA Victorian president Professor Julian Rait told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“They’re having to really cop some very poor budgetary decisions from the government.”

Mr Rait said a “perfect storm” is building in the state’s hospitals.

“We have declining funding in Victoria,” he said.

“There’s been a 5.3 per cent cut in the funding for hospitals. At the same time we’ve got declining private health insurance rates, so people are having more difficulty accessing private hospital procedures.

“Plus, we’ve got a growing and ageing population with a greater burden of chronic disease.”

Melbourne’s hospitals will be hit hardest by the under-funding crisis, due to population growth.

The Northern Health waiting list is set to blow out by 97 per cent, while St Vincent’s will blow out by 79 per cent and the Monash will go up by 54 per cent over the next year.

In a statement, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said a busy flu season is to blame for the surgery wait time blowout, and Victorians are waiting less time for elective surgery.

But Mr Rait shot down both of those points.

“The flu season was a little bit more active this year … but that epidemic is over now,” he said.

As for the minister’s assertion that Victorians are waiting less time for elective surgery, Mr Rait dubbed it “nonsense”.

Neil Mitchell also hit out at government management of the health system.

“It is an obscene failure of government,” he said.

“If you can’t care for the sick you can’t govern.”

Press PLAY below for more.

Our hospital wait list pain: Listeners detail their own stories