March 9, 2018

McGowan Government must put public patients first

The State Government must deal with public hospital surgical waiting lists and restore confidence in the Western Australian public health system.

Shadow Minister for Health Sean L’Estrange said the blow-out in waiting times to see specialists in WA public hospitals was a clear warning sign the State’s public health system was under pressure.

“The McGowan Government spent more than eight years in Opposition saying it would improve frontline health services,” Mr L’Estrange said.

“After 12 months in Government the health system is going backwards.

“The McGowan Government’s first budget laid out a 10 per cent cut in real terms in the health budget over the term of this Government.

“When a Government cuts expenditure on health, something has to give and what gives is the number of people that can be treated in the system.

“Premier Mark McGowan promised to reduce waiting lists and ‘put patients first’.

“Now, we hear about cancer patients waiting six months to see a specialist. That is not putting patients first.”

Mr L’Estrange said the Government had known for some time that an aging population, an increasingly obese population and a decline in the number of people taking out private health insurance were increasing the number of people accessing the public health system.

“Instead of planning for this increase, this Government has chosen to cut funding to health services and fund vanity projects in electorates where it wanted to buy votes,” Mr L’Estrange said.

“The McGowan Labor Government has got its priorities wrong. The $39 million of Local Projects/Local Jobs borrowed money being splashed around in Labor electorates should be put to good use in the health system.

“I feel for the patients who must endure excessive wait times to find out whether or not they need surgery; particularly those in pain and with the worry of not knowing what will happen.”

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