Media Release: Labor's Health Crisis Oversees Historic Wait Times

Data released by the Australian Medical Association today has further reaffirmed that Australians’ access to critical healthcare has never been worse than under the Albanese Labor Government.

According to the data, 2022-23 saw the worst average emergency department wait times in a decade, while the wait times for elective surgery have almost doubled compared to 20 years ago.

Capacity has also reached critical levels, with the proportion of public hospital beds available for every Australian over 65 at an all-time low of 14.3 beds per 1000 population.

This comes as the Coalition has been calling on the Government to take urgent action to fix the primary healthcare crisis, which we know is only adding further pressure to our already strained hospital systems.

Last year, we saw more than 1.2 million Australians avoid going to a GP due to concern over cost, as bulk bulling rates collapsed to decade lows.

Since then, we know that out-of-pocket costs have continued to rise to the highest level on record, which means it has literally never been more expensive to see a GP.

It has also never been harder, with the serious impact of the current workforce crisis being felt in GP practices and aged care facilities across the country.

Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Anne Ruston said that the data released today is extremely concerning, but she has been warning the Government that this serious situation is pushing more and more people towards hospitals and blowing out wait times.

“Our primary care system is key in preventing Australians from needing emergency hospital support, but we know Australians are not only having trouble accessing a GP, but they’re also struggling to afford one.

“At the same time, critical workforce shortages are putting significant strain on our aged care facilities as they struggle to meet the Government’s new rigid staffing requirements.

“Aged care providers are also integral in freeing up hospital beds, but the Government has abandoned them amongst these challenges,” Senator Ruston said.

The Coalition continues to call on the Government to implement a national and comprehensive workforce strategy for the entire care sector, as the only way to adequately deal with these pressures.

The Albanese Labor Government must also take decisive action to address the primary care crisis, including by standing up to state premiers on GP payroll taxes.


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