Health Minister, Michael Ferguson needs to reassure Tasmanians who are languishing on the longest elective surgery waiting lists in the nation that every dollar allocated to health this year in the Commonwealth GST distribution will be spent on health, Greens Health spokesperson, Cassy O'Connor MP, said today.
"Martyn Goddard's independent and expert analysis paints a disturbing picture of $84 million allocated to the State in 2014-15 - specifically to boost the capacity of our public hospitals - going instead into general revenue, at the expense of Tasmanians needing treatment,” Ms O’Connor said.
"At a time when the Abbott Government is moving to slash billions in health funding to Tasmania over the next decade, every dollar counts for those Tasmanians waiting up to three years for elective surgery procedures.”
"As it is, Tasmania's public hospitals only have the resources to prioritise urgent cases, with elective surgery procedures regularly bumped to make way for the most seriously ill patients. Too many people aren't getting treatment or surgery until their condition has deteriorated to the point where it is urgent.”
"This, in turn, places an extra cost burden on the public health system.”
"I understand that the Health budget needs to have some flexibility, but it also needs to be adequately funded and sure that resources allocated to health, go in to health.”
"By Mr Goddard's estimation the $84 million allocated to in-patient care in 2014-15 could provide treatment for 16 000 Tasmanians.”
"If Mr Ferguson is serious in his claim that he will 'fix the health system', he needs to take on the Treasurer to ensure every health dollar allocated by Canberra goes into the Tasmanian Health budget, resourcing our hospitals to get on with their job of providing high quality care to Tasmanians.”
"On behalf of the government, Minister Ferguson needs to be open about the state of the Health books and reassure Tasmanians languishing on the nation's longest elective surgery waiting lists that the system won't be short-changed by a single cent," Ms O'Connor said.