Quality & Patient Safety

Australia: Quality of care affected as hospitals hit financial bottom

Patient Safety Monitor: Global Edition, February 17, 2009

As New South Wales (NSW) public hospitals report their worst financial results on record for the 2007-2008 year, patients are still suffering long wait times and medical mistakes, according to The Daily Telegraph. The reports reveal that health services overspent by $159.4 million, a 500% rise from last year.

The overspending has led government to crack down on spending and to monitor budgets, but hospitals still struggle with unpaid bills that left many facilities owing millions of dollars to creditors.

In the past year, NSW reported that one out of four patients waited more than 30 minutes to be offloaded from an ambulance, while a quarter of emergency department patients waited more than eight hours for an inpatient bed. According to The Daily Telegraph, 583 medical errors were reported, the highest it has been in at least five years.

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