DOCTORS have urged all governments not to cut hospital funding as they released a report card showing no significant improvement in hospitals' ability to perform elective surgeries.
The Australian Medical Association's annual public hospitals report card showed nationally the number of hospital beds per capita had not grown, and the capacity of hospitals to move patients from emergency departments to wards or to perform elective surgeries had not improved.
The report follows a decision by the Commonwealth in October to reduce health payments to the states by $1.6 billion nationally due to a fall in population forecasts, and NSW government cuts to hospital budgets of $3 billion over four years.
The association president, Steve Hambleton, said the message of the report was that no government should be reducing public hospital funding.
''It is unacceptable for any government to introduce reductions in funding as it can only further reduce capacity in a health system that is already under enormous strain and putting patient safety and quality of care at risk,'' he said.
''If public hospitals are to stand any chance of meeting the needs of the community and performing according to the agreed standard, both levels of government have to take full responsibility for providing the required funding.''
Dr Hambleton called on governments to work together to fix the system.
The NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, said governments had to learn from each other.
''Patients and their family members in the state's hospitals care little about the tit-for-tat blame game between the states and Commonwealth,'' Mrs Skinner said.
''What they want is the best possible care and the best way governments can deliver that is by working hand-in-hand for the benefit of patients,'' she said.
The federal Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said the report only took in the first six months of the federal government's national health reforms.
She said the Commonwealth had significantly increased its funding since 2007 and states had to maintain their effort.