ACEM is pleased with the focus on health in the NT budget and welcomes the $8 million for additional capacity at the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH). The College has been raising concerns about critical capacity issues at the RDH for years, and this investment could help address dangerous access block.
The College also welcomes the investment into mental health services, including mental health services for young people.
However, the College urges the government to provide greater funding for public health facilities in Alice Springs, Katherine, Gove and other regional areas – not just the RDH – to ensure health equity and sustainability across the entire territory.
A focus on workforce sustainability is also crucial. Like the rest of Australia, the Northern Territory is experiencing a dangerous healthcare workforce crisis, and ACEM urges the NT government to announce policies and investments aimed at immediately addressing this.
ACEM NT Chair Dr Stephen Gourley said, “We are pleased at the large investment in health announced by the NT government. The increase in funds for the Royal Darwin Hospital is positive and could see improvements in access block. However, the entire health service in the NT is under pressure – not just the RDH – with unsustainable surges in demand. These issues are experienced across the territory, but most significantly in areas outside the city.”
“There is no healthcare system in the NT without healthcare workers, and across the NT we are struggling with a critical lack of staff, and an inability to recruit or retain enough skilled healthcare workers. This can be fixed, and we must all come together to determine and implement a solution.”
“The federal government also have a large role to play in fixing issues in the NT, and this federal election we want to see policies aimed at federal areas of responsibility that contribute towards access block and hospital overcrowding in the NT, including the NDIS and aged care, with a particular focus on rural and regional areas.”
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ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au
Melissa Howard [email protected] 0427 621 857