At last it appears that the government is trading in desks for beds

Australian Medical Association NSW President Dr John Gullotta said today’s sweeping changes to NSW hospital bureaucracy meant, “at last it appears that the government is trading in desks for beds.”

The announcement that the number of Area Health Services would be cut from 17 down to eight will reduce the number of bureaucrats and hopefully result in major budget savings.

“We welcome the guarantee that the expected $100 million annual saving will be funnelled straight into frontline services. Issues such as the long waiting lists for elective surgery need urgent attention.

“The association has been given reassurances that CEOs of the various areas will be answerable the Director-General of Health. Accountability and an avenue of appeal against local decision-making are essential to maintain a functioning system,” he said.

Dr Gullotta said the enlarged administrative areas meant many regional hospitals would be grouped together with major hospitals and it was to be hoped that the needs of smaller communities would not be marginalised.

“It is also important that local doctors and communities have meaningful input into the services required and we hope the advisory committee headed by Ian Sinclair and Wendy McCarthy will address that,” he said.

“A lot of the problems in the running of hospitals have been due to frontline medical staff being sidelined from the decision-making process.”

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