The Australian Medical Association (AMA) and medical colleges are demanding federal, state, and territory governments take action to tackle growing surgery waiting lists, with hundreds of thousands of Australians often waiting years in terrible pain.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) is one of the co-signatories to a letter to federal Health Minister, Mark Butler, which calls for a new plan to tackle the existing backlog of surgeries.
The group says while the National Hospital Funding Agreement (NHRA) needs reform, a new agreement won’t be introduced until 2025, and there’s desperate need for a new plan to tackle the existing backlog of surgeries.
Together, they are pushing for 50–50 funding in the new NHRA and the removal of the 6.5% cap on funding growth, along with the reintroduction of performance funding.
“We need action now – from all governments – to get our hospitals out of logjam and help all those Australians whose lives are being severely impacted because they can’t get the surgery they need,” AMA President Professor Steve Robson said.
An estimated AU$4.4 billion in new funding is needed to clear the surgery backlog over two years.
RANZCO President Dr Grant Raymond said: “Publicly funded cataract surgery is under enormous pressure with the current waiting times for elective surgeries adding distress to many patients. Without targeted intervention the excessive delays for the elderly will continue to worsen.”