Public Hospitals in Western Australia (WA)
The Department of Health runs Public Hospitals in Western Australia. The current minister for health services in WA is the hon. Jim McGinty. All Australians are entitled to free hospital cover and also entitled to free visits to see a general practitioner. This is because of the Medicare system that was introduced into Australia in 1984 and is considered one of the best health care systems in the world today. It is paid for by all Australians through a levy that is placed on taxation. There are currently 21 million Australians enrolled into the medicare system today.
Western Australia is one of the only states to boast low waiting lists for elective surgery as a result of an increased number of jobs provided in the public health care sector. The Australian government has recently introduced a rebate to all Australians who take out private health insurance to ease the pressure on public hospitals. Unfortunately when the government announced the rebate most private health insurance companies raised their fees by the same amount. If you need urgent medical attention the chances are that you will end up in a public hospital today.
The Department of Health in Western Australia is also in charge of taking care of mental health services and aged care.
To be admitted into a Western Australian public hospital it's first necessary to be referred by your local GP to a specialist who will then refer you to hospital and will provide you with a letter which must be produced before you are allowed to make an appointment. The only other way to get into a public hospital is to enter through the accident and emergency department which is there for anyone requiring urgent medical attention.
If you are admitted into a Western Australia public hospital then it's important for you to disclose any ongoing treatment you may be having for any ailments as this may affect the kind of treatment which is prescribed to you by the doctor. You must also disclose if you have recently taken any recreational drugs as this may also affect the treatment that is prescribed to you by the doctor. Doctors must also consult patients in terms of what kind of treatment they recommend for you and any risks associated with that treatment. In many cases if you don't understand fluent English an interpreter may be provided so that you understand exactly what the treatment is that’s being prescribed and any side effects which it may have. If you are admitted into hospital for an appointment and have to cancel then it's extremely important to notify the hospital as soon as possible of this as they can then arrange for another patient to be booked into that time slot and ease the waiting list further.
Since 2001 the Western Australian Government has employed an extra 2000 nurses into the health care system which has taken a large load off the public hospital waiting list. Recently the Western Australian Government also announced another 4 billion dollars going towards health in the 2007/2008-state budget. With added jobs and funding in the Western Australian health care system it will mean Western Australia will have one of the best health care systems in the world.