Illawarra hospitals will suffer under "savage cuts" to the state's health system, says Labor's health spokesman Ryan Park.
The Keira MP said this week that internal documents obtained by Labor revealed that $252 million would be slashed from NSW Health during the 2019-20 financial year.
Included in that figure was $150 million to be cut from local health districts, including the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
"Let's be very clear about this. Gladys Berejikilan and her Treasurer intend on taking a knife to our local hospitals as part of their $150 million cuts to local health districts," Mr Park said.
"In simple terms this will mean less nurses and health staff, increased waiting times in emergency departments and ever increasing delays for important surgery.
"All of this from a Premier who just a few months ago was saying 'we can have it all'.
"Obviously her government doesn't think that adequate resources and funding for our hospitals is part of that.
"Less than 12 months into this term of Parliament and we see the true colours of this government come out and as a result Illawarra residents will be worse off because of this cruel cut to our local health system."
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association called on Health Minister Brad Hazzard to urgently explain the cuts earmarked for local health districts.
NSWNMA general secretary Brett Holmes said despite the Minister claiming a record $26.7 billion health budget since June, the reality inside many public hospitals was already dire.
"Details revealed by Labor Leader Jodi McKay and Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park confirms the experience of our members working on the frontline of public health," he said.
"For months we've had reports of horrendous short staffing issues and widespread accounts of nurse staffing vacancies being left unfilled for weeks on end."
Mr Holmes said nurses and midwives were being driven out of their professions due to burnout and stress, as they struggled to provide safe patient care.
"People accessing our public hospitals deserve to know they're walking into a properly resourced, adequately funded health facility, not a hospital struggling under the constraints of Treasury caps," he said.
A NSW Health spokesperson denied Labor's claims.
"The Secretary for Health can confirm that all health districts and speciality health networks received budget increases for the 19/20 financial year.
"There were no budget cuts and the health budget was a record $24 billion."
The spokesperson added that "wise use of health funding" was important.
"All districts and networks are encouraged to drive efficiencies in back office functions to produce the best use of health funding for where it matters most - our patients.
"There are no reductions in frontline staff and as per government commitments NSW Health will recruit an additional 8300 front line staff over the next four years."
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