Health care funding would soar 5.8 per cent in 2008, with services for mental health jumping a massive 22.7 per cent, Treasurer Eric Ripper said today.
Mr Ripper said the Carpenter Government’s $4.5billion investment to provide on‑the‑ground healthcare services throughout the State over the coming year would help ensure patients received the best possible treatment.
“Western Australians deserve the best health care and this funding is in addition to the $4.1billion we have allocated to rebuild our hospitals and other health infrastructure over the next 10 years,” he said.
The Treasurer said the 2008-09 State Budget focused on developing high-quality hospitals and health care centres closer to where people lived, increasing mental health services and paying nurses and doctors more competitive salaries.
“Medical, nursing, and hospital support staff will receive an additional $941million in salaries in 2008-09 and the following three years,” he said.
“This is a significant investment in the State’s health workforce.
“With increasing demand for our health services through an increasing population and a world-wide shortage of doctors and nurses, we need to continue building on the number of people entering these professions each year, as well as retaining and attracting experienced staff.”
Mr Ripper said the Carpenter Government was delivering on a 2005 election promise to employ an additional 800 nurses over four years, with:
· a record 586 new graduate nurses starting work in 2008;
· a record 10,241 full-time equivalent nurses - about 2,263 more (or 28 per cent) than in 2001;
· a record 172 new medical interns; and
· a record 2,910 full-time equivalent doctors, about 993 more (or 52 per cent) than in 2001. In addition, medical graduate numbers at WA universities would grow from 125 in 2006 to an expected 278 graduates in 2010.
The Treasurer said almost $100million had been allocated for additional mental health services, bringing the total new investment in the Mental Health Strategy (on top of annual funding) to $560million since 2004.
“Key areas this year include additional funding for the early detection and treatment of mental illness in children and adolescents and continued investment in providing supported accommodation for people with a mental illness,” he said.
In 2008-09, the State Government will spend $502million on health infrastructure -almost $230million more than 2007-08. This expenditure includes construction work on:
· the $1.76billion Fiona Stanley Hospital;
· new Busselton Integrated District Health Service;
· Pathwest development at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital;
· Cancer Centre stage two at Sir Charles Gairdner
Other work under way in 2008-09 includes:
· construction of the Joondalup Health Campus Inpatient
Mental Health Unit;
· construction of Rockingham Kwinana Hospital
· planning and construction of Hedland Regional
Resource Centre Hospital;
· construction of Broome Regional Resource Centre
Hospital and Inpatient Mental Health Unit;
· completion of new Denmark Multi Purpose Centre;
· upgrades to Fremantle Hospital;
· completion of new Murray District Health Centre; and
· development of Wyndham Multi Purpose Centre.
There will also be a $10.8million investment in staff accommodation in regional areas.
Treasurer's office - 9222 8788