Area Health needs more



THE member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, says that the Government's claims of savings from the amalgamation of the Mid North Coast Area Health Service (MNCAHS) and the Northern Rivers Area Health Service (NRAHS) would increase services, have been debunked by the Auditor General's Report to Parliament 2004 Volume Four.

According to Mr Fraser, the Auditor General's report shows a deficit for the MNCAHS to June 30 as $8,049,000 and a deficit for the NRAHS of $6,267,000 a total deficit of $14,316,000.

He said that projected savings from the amalgamation, as advised by the Government, are only $2million, meaning the budget for the new Area Health Service needs to be in- creased by some $12,316,000 in order that the same level of service in 2003/2004 financial year can continue.

"Unless this funding is made available immediately we will continue to see waiting lists grow, the Nurses Association's screaming for more assistance and an absolute lack of opportunities for new surgeons to be given operating time at the Coffs Har- bour Health Campus (CHHC)," Mr Fraser said.

"It is a disgrace that 20 beds at the CHHC remain closed and two operating theatres also remain closed when the elective surgery waiting list continues to blow out.

"The Government must take immediate action to ensure that equity in funding is provided to the new Area Health Service."



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