AFTER four years of promised reform from the Labor government, the public hospital system showed little improvement, the Australian Medical Association declared in its annual report card.
The AMA president, Dr Steve Hambleton, said despite some extra funding performance in every state and territory was well below targets for access to emergency departments and elective surgery set by the Council of Australian Governments.
''It is very much business as usual as public hospitals across the country are struggling to meet demand,'' Dr Hambleton said. ''Only 78 new beds were opened across Australia in 2009-10. There are now only 2.6 public hospital beds for every 1000 people, which is down 3.5 per cent from the previous year.''
In NSW, the AMA said the figures for 2009-10 showed rising waiting times for emergency and elective surgery and a decline in the number of beds.
The AMA report said the evidence from NSW suggested that ''apart from occasional bursts of activity to meet elective surgery targets, the performance of the NSW health system is worsening''.
It welcomed the NSW government's ''unprecedented commitment'' to achieve an average of 85 per cent for hospital bed occupancies and to implementing national targets for emergency and elective care.
But the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, said Labor had delivered 70,000 extra elective surgery operations, 433 more hospital beds, 10,000 more doctors and nurses in hospitals and a funding increase 117 times greater than that of the former health minister Tony Abbott.