Victorian Hospital Rescue Package Helps Patients
The Australia Government has announced a $107 million rescue package for Victorian hospitals.
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21 February 2013
The Gillard Government has today announced a $107 million rescue package for Victorian hospitals, following Premier Ted Baillieu’s failure to properly manage the state’s health system.
This cash injection will be paid directly to Local Hospital Networks, which will distribute the money to ailing Victorian hospitals, for example:
- Casey and Colac Hospitals where the overnight Emergency Departments have been closed.
- Barwon Health which has cut 500 elective surgeries and closed 24 beds at Geelong.
- Bendigo Health which is performing 600 fewer surgeries than scheduled and closing 24 beds across three wards.
“We believe we have an obligation to ensure Victorians are given the best possible health care. We will not stand by and allow Premier Baillieu’s politicking to hurt patients,” Ms Plibersek said.
“For two years Premier Baillieu’s blatant disregard for the welfare of Victorian patients has seen beds close, elective surgery waiting lists blow out and standards of care decline.
“This funding injection will go directly to frontline hospital administrators so they can immediately restore services shut down by the Baillieu government in recent months.”
Ms Plibersek said despite significant increases in Commonwealth health funding and additional GST revenues paid to Victoria, health results in Victoria have been going backwards for almost two years.
“There’s been a $196 million increase in Commonwealth funding for hospital running costs between last year and this year, yet waiting lists are longer and emergency treatment times are slower. Commonwealth funding will increase by another $900 million over the next four years and we expect the Victorian government to lift its game.”
“Premier Baillieu ripped $616 million for essential hospital services out of two successive state budgets and you can see the results everywhere.”
In addition to the $616 million cuts from the state health budget, Ted Baillieu immediately and savagely cut hospital budgets when Commonwealth funding was adjusted at MYEFO according to the formula that he signed up to and that he said was a great deal for Victoria.
“Instead of doing the right thing by the state, the Baillieu government has engaged in a politically-driven campaign of stunts and spin designed to distract from its own budget cuts and failure to properly manage Victoria’s health system.”
Ms Plibersek said Commonwealth funding to Victorian hospitals was increasing by $900 million over the forward estimates.
“To fund the shortfall we will redirect $55 million in funding from unmet milestone payments for Victoria under the Seamless National Economy National Partnership (reforms like national OH&S laws that the Victorian Government has not delivered as agreed). The balance of the $107 million will count against Victoria when allocating future funding for projects to the state.”
The $107 million rescue package will cover the period up until 1 July, 2013, when previously committed Commonwealth funding increases will take over.
Ms Plibersek said the Gillard Government was now seeking assurances that the Baillieu Government would continue to support the National Health Reform Agreement. If assurances were not given, the Commonwealth would be forced to consider its options. Under the National Health Reform Agreement Victoria is already $1.2 billion better off than if the old Howard/Abbott funding formula applied.
“We call on the Baillieu government to reverse its savage $616 million cuts and join with the Commonwealth in putting Victorian patients first.”
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