21 July 2009
The latest “snapshot” of Australia’s Emergency Department’s has yet again put the lie to Kevin Rudd’s promise to “fix” the nation’s hospitals.
Almost a month after Mr Rudd’s failure to deliver on his promise comes new information which shows that rather than improving – the situation in our major hospitals continues to deteriorate.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton accused Prime Minister Rudd and Health Minister Roxon of fumbling and failing to deliver on their promises to “fix” health.
The proof, he said, was in the findings of the latest survey of the nation’s major Emergency Departments by the College of Emergency Medicine.
It found there was no significant improvement in ending the access block which traps patients in Emergency Departments; in fact it is now worse than it was a year ago.
The College’s survey finds that in half of our major training hospitals, patients treated in emergency are still waiting for an inpatient bed 12 hours after they arrived.
It says that accounts for around 40 per cent of the workload in our stressed Emergency Departments.
“Patients are still dying while waiting for a hospital bed,” it reports.
What was particularly worrying, Mr Dutton said, was the College’s assessment that hospitals could not cope with even a “modest mass casualty event”.
Mr Dutton said Australians should remember that Mr Rudd had promised to “fix” the nation’s hospitals by mid 2009.
“The promise was central to Labor’s election campaign on health; the deadline was set by Mr Rudd himself.”
“The Prime Minister now needed to be held accountable given that he said in 2007 that he had a plan to fix the hospitals and that the buck would stop with him,” Mr Dutton said.