The repeated suspension of elective surgery, the disruption to screening services and outpatient appointments, and a 40% drop in routine pathology testing early in the pandemic have all combined to create a cohort of Australians now presenting with more advanced disease and languishing on long waiting lists for surgery as their condition worsens.
Nowadays, ambulances queue up outside hospitals and paramedics wait in corridors with their patients until there’s space available in the ED – meaning they’re not able to answer other 000 calls.
Such ambulance ramping is a sign of a health system under immense strain. So, how bad is it? Why is it happening? And what can be done to improve the situation?
Australian Healthcare Week (AHW) published a ‘state of the industry’ report in late 2021 that explored the pandemic effect and discussed priorities for 2022 and beyond. It included survey responses from healthcare professionals and leaders, 82% of whom worked in patient-facing roles at the coalface.
So, what could new infrastructure investments look like for future healthcare?