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LETTER: Hospital bed a basic right

SIR, – Recently a 72-year-old man died at Bairnsdale Hospital while waiting for four hours to be admitted. 

Three other ambulances were waiting with patients.

There is a severe shortage of hospital beds across Australia – sometimes general ward and mostly emergency department, and people are struggling to see their local GP. 

COVID work shortages are one reason. However, federal and state governments have failed for decades to fund hospitals to keep pace with population growth. 

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At this election, the Liberals are standing on their record of increased funding for Medicare and bulk billing at its highest rate, while Labor has a $135-million plan to trial bulk-billed urgent-care clinics.

This has been welcomed by experts but is not costed and might not go far enough to reduce the stress on emergency departments of hospitals.

There are a range of things that can be done to improve the situation. 

The Federal Government needs to lift its hospital funding from 45 to 50 percent and abolish the 6.5 percent growth cap on hospital funding, which would boost funds by $20-billion over four years. 

We need more funds for aged-care and disability-care facilities, because these people are clogging up the hospital system.

Financial incentives for GPs to operate for longer hours would reduce the bed shortages as well.

The Federal Government has splurged $55.6-billion in grants in less than four years, including $13.8-billion during this election campaign. And yet an old man dies in a hospital toilet waiting four hours for treatment. 

Whoever wins the coming election must get back to basics and fund hospitals properly. A hospital bed is a basic right for all Australians. 

Robert Blakeley


The entire April 27, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire April 27, 2022 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!