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Courtney Must Rule Out Cruel Frontline Health Cuts

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Tags: Health, Elective Surgery

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Health spokesperson

Health Minister, Sarah Courtney must rule out elective surgery cuts for public health patients. She needs to take a stand against the heartless and financially senseless directive by Treasurer Gutwein, and focus on saving people’s lives and reducing suffering.

During Budget Estimates, both the Treasurer and former-Health Minister refused to detail where Budget ‘efficiencies’ would be made, but stated no frontline health services would be impacted.  Now, surgeons have been directed to cut 15% of priority patients from their elective surgery waiting lists.

The Hodgman Government’s under-spending on health has caused the elective surgery list to balloon by 75% since mid-2017. An example of this is the nearly 3,000 Tasmanians who are waiting for a colonoscopy to determine if they have bowel cancer.

Now, at least one in seven patients who are suffering in pain - or living with deep anxiety about the progress of their disease or condition - will get a phone call to say their essential surgery is cancelled.

This is a cruel blow for people who may have been waiting years for surgery, and is a terrible mismanagement of scarce health resources.

As well as risking patient lives and causing them enormous stress, failing to operate early enough will inevitably result in more serious, and far more costly, urgent hospital admissions.

Treasurer Gutwein is gloating about prioritising $1.4 billion spending on infrastructure in this year’s Budget, while patients’ surgeries are about to be cancelled. 

Minister Courtney must put patients first and stand up to the Treasurer and his warped priorities.