The New South Wales (NSW) Government in Australia has unveiled a record A$35.1bn ($23.1bn) investment for the 2024-25 Budget to overhaul the state’s health system.

This funding aims to address the community’s increasing demands by easing the strain on emergency departments, enhancing hospital infrastructure, and supporting primary healthcare services.

A significant portion of the budget, A$171.4m, is earmarked for the creation of a ‘Single Front Door’ initiative.

This will serve as a unified point for advice, assessment, triage, and referral for individuals in NSW with urgent non-life-threatening conditions. It is expected to help 180,000 people avoid unnecessary emergency department visits.

In addition, the budget allocates A$100m to bolster urgent care services, offering an alternative to hospital care for approximately 114,000 patients.

To improve emergency department efficiency, A$70.1m will expand short-stay units, potentially reducing wait times by almost 80,000 hours.

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The government also plans to introduce an Ambulance Matrix with an A$15.1m investment to guide paramedics to less congested emergency departments.

To further alleviate hospital bed occupancy, A$31.4m will be invested to extend the Hospital in the Home programme, allowing over 3,500 additional patients to receive care at home annually.

Moreover, A$53.9m will be directed towards enhancing patient flow and discharge planning processes.

The government also committed A$188.8m to the Bulk-Billing Support Initiative, ensuring primary healthcare services remain accessible.

An additional A$274.7m will be used to increase staffing at new and upgraded hospitals, facilitating the hiring of 250 healthcare workers across various facilities.

The budget also includes A$3.4bn investment in hospital infrastructure, part of the Building Better Health initiative, to deliver upgraded facilities in communities with the greatest need.