HOSPITALS across regional Victoria will lose billions of dollars over the next ten years as a result of the Abbott Government’s cuts to health. Last Friday the Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, joined the Federal Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, and local MPs Sharon Knight and Geoff Howard, at Ballarat Base Hospital, which alone will lose $348 million over the next ten years.
Ms Hennessy said that recently she had released a report that was a breakdown of the impact of Federal Government cuts to the Victorian health system. “Tony Abbott went to the last election and he promised Victorians, and all Australians, that he would not cut funding for health,” Ms Hennessy said. “He broke that promise and it will have disastrous consequences for the Victorian health system and horrendous impacts in regional Victoria – a cut of $13.6 billion over the next ten years.” Ms Hennessy went on to say these cuts would impact on patients through longer waiting times for emergency treatment and longer waiting times for elective surgery. Federal Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King, said the government ripped up the historic agreements that Labor had reached with every state and territory to end the blame game when it came to funding public hospitals. “Tony Abbott had promised to honour exactly the same funding agreement that Labor did, for the next decade. They have now walked away from that agreement and we are going to see the blame game when it comes to public hospitals starting all over again,” she said.
“All of the work that Labor did with our state and territory colleagues to actually improve emergency department waiting times, to get more nurses and more doctors into our public hospitals, to make sure we were meeting elective surgery waiting time targets.” Health services with funding cuts include: Barwon Health will lose $642 million, Bendigo Health $364 million, Ballarat Health $348 million, Albury Wodonga Health $278 million, Latrobe Regional Hospital $249 million, Goulburn Valley Health $231 million, Mildura Base Hospital $135 million, Northeast Health Wangaratta $123 million, West Gippsland Health Care Group $92 million, and Wimmera Health Care Group $79 million. The Abbott Government has also walked away from key components of the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services, including: $840 million over the next ten years to fund new sub acute beds, and up to $50 million in reward payments for emergency department and elective surgery waiting list times.