- We are a broad group of senior health workers and consumers who believe it is timely to act in the public interest and engage the community in an open debate about what is happening in our public hospitals. As doctors, nurses, allied health clinicians, academics, managers and consumers, we have a deep commitment and loyalty to the public health care system in its present form.
We are a non-partisan group which is not affiliated to any political party. We wish to draw the attention of the public and all political parties to our concerns. Many of the problems in health care are problems in all developed countries and states of Australia. They are problems that will turn into crises if a collaborative, open, and realistic approach to solving them is not viewed as a matter of urgency.
- We believe that it is very important to develop a health care system which successfully integrates hospital care with primary health care, community care and other health services. Such a service would offer the best opportunities to deliver high quality health care and to achieve optimal health outcomes together with high levels of patient, health, service provider and community satisfaction. This is not easy, however, as there have been long-term system-wide problems within each of the separate elements, including the hospitals.
- Clinicians (doctors, nurses and allied health staff) are the health system’s greatest asset. Our public hospitals depend on the goodwill and devotion of healthcare professionals. Yet many of them are leaving our public hospitals for the private sector or at the very least their commitment is slipping.
- We are concerned that, because of workforce shortages, our human resources are spread too thinly and unevenly. The provision of all available hospital services in all areas of the state is no longer possible, affordable or in the best interests of the community.
To resolve this we do not need band aid solutions. We need to address unrealistic and unaffordable expectations with honesty transparency and creativity. There is not enough money to meet the community’s expectations for health care.
- We see an urgent need for major workplace reform. The health workforce and workplace practices must be modernised. The traditional divide between professional disciplines and responsibilities is not necessarily appropriate for the future.
- The patchy nature of the inequity of access and of outcome for patients should be addressed urgently. A fair healthcare system demands that all patients have an equal right to timely access to the highest quality of hospital care. The continuing and counter-productive dual system of Commonwealth/State control of health care has to be brought to an end.