Labor’s Rural and Regional Health spokesperson Stephen Jones and Labor’s candidate for Paterson Meryl Swanson have today slammed the Turnbull Government’s hospital cuts, which have ripped $2 billion from the Hunter New England Local Health District (LHD).
Kurri Kurri Hospital and Maitland Hospital are now experiencing massive increases in elective surgery waiting times, putting vulnerable patients at risk.
Stephen Jones said that next week’s Budget is Malcolm Turnbull’s chance to end the war on Australia’s under-pressure hospitals.
“The Liberal Government has cut $57 billion from our public hospitals, including $2 billion alone from the Hunter New England LHD. This is putting significant strain on local hospitals.
"It isn’t good enough, patients in the Hunter deserve better. The Liberals have been in government for nearly three years now, so they need to start taking responsibility for these harsh cuts.
“Access to healthcare should rely on your Medicare card, not your credit card. The Labor Party is the only party which takes the healthcare of all patients seriously.”
Meryl Swanson said that the Liberal health cuts are having a real impact on patients in the community.
“New South Wales Bureau of Health Information figures show the average wait for non-urgent surgery has increased by 88 per cent at Kurri Kurri hospital over the last 12 months.
“Average waiting times has exploded from 150 days to 283 days. At Maitland hospital the wait for non-urgent surgery has increased 62 per cent, which means that patients are now waiting 254 days for surgery.
“Before the last election Coalition MPs promised to protect regional hospitals. They have done the opposite.
“It is irresponsible for this Government to be abandoning vulnerable patients. These statistics show that our health system is in crisis.
“This is especially dangerous in our region where residential growth is rapidly increasing and there is an ageing population.”