Health gets largest-ever NSW budget funds

·2-min read

The NSW government has made a record $33 billion investment in the state's health system, which the premier says will deliver world-class health care.

Some $30 billion in recurrent funding will be topped up with $2.8 billion in promised capital works as the government pledges to build and redevelop NSW hospitals.

Key funding announcements in the 2022/23 state budget include $1.76 billion for NSW Ambulance to recruit 2128 new staff, $2.9 billion for mental health services, including $143 million for suicide prevention, and $899 to address the continued costs associated with COVID-19.

"The NSW government is committed to ensuring everyone across the state continues to receive first-class care from our biggest-ever workforce in fantastic healthcare facilities throughout the state," Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Tuesday.

Treasurer Matt Kean conceded during the budget lockup the healthcare system was under "enormous pressure".

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the funds would ensure support for the system as it continued to recover from the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Hazzard said the funding would go to delivering some 10,000 full-time equivalent staff over the next four years, with 7000 to be hired in the next year.

"The health workforce went to extraordinary length during the pandemic and have rightly earned the admiration and the gratitude of the entire state," he said.

Regional Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said regional and rural staff would benefit from the onboarding of new staff in the bush.

"Our regional and rural communities are set to benefit from the largest boost to their health workforce in the State's history, with 3800 more staff over the next four years," Mrs Taylor said.

The Australian Medical Association NSW said the 9.2 per cent increase in funds from the previous year was welcome, but an opportunity to support general practice had been missed.

"The AMA has been on record calling on government to address workforce shortages, medical salaries, and health expenditure for non-COVID care ahead of the budget," AMA NSW President Michael Bonning said.

"It is critical that these investments increase doctor numbers, particularly in rural and regional and outer metropolitan areas.

"Doctors are critical to patient care in these communities."

Dr Bonning said a commitment to sustained health investment was needed to address capacity issues threatening the system, including the ageing population presenting with complex conditions.

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