Posted on 09. Jun, 2010 in Victoria

Victoria’s world renowned public health professionals will be able to work with the latest cutting edge equipment thanks to $1.2 million worth of grants from the Brumby Labor Government.

Visiting the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute today, Health Minister Daniel Andrews said the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service would share in the new funding boost.

“The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to give Victorians a better health system, by building new hospitals and hiring more doctors and nurses,” Mr Andrews said.

“As part of the 2009/10 Targeted Equipment Program, we will deliver $1.2 million to support state-wide public health programs, which includes $265,000 for the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service.

“This funding will replace, upgrade or install new medical equipment at some of Victoria’s top public health laboratories and services.”

Mr Andrews said the funding would support various agencies and public health laboratories in their ongoing provision of population health programs and services.

“Our understanding of health and disease and advances in technology are driving changes in the provision of health services, particularly in genetics,” he said.

“Organisations such as the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service, a subsidiary of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, are well placed to harness this knowledge and bring this new technology and its benefits to the community.”

Mr Andrews said the new medical equipment would help detect and monitor infectious diseases, support the early detection of cancer and certain rare genetic conditions.

“The $265,000 funding boost will enable the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service to buy new genetic testing equipment and additional equipment to meet increased demand for testing in the newborn screening program,” he said.

“This comes on top of $417,000 we provided last year for the service to install a new Tandem Mass Spectrometer.

“This equipment is used to test all babies born in Victoria for a range of rare metabolic conditions that if left untreated may result in developmental delay, intellectual impairment, growth failure, and in some cases death.

“By identifying these issues early babies can have the best chance to receive effective treatment and the best possible care.”

The newborn screening program has been operating in Victoria since the 1960’s and screens newborns just after birth to identify those few babies at risk of having a serious medical condition.

Other health laboratories and services to share in the funding boost include:

  • $392,179 to the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory;
  • $217,886 to the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit, University of Melbourne;
  • $164,000 to the Victorian Cytology Service; and
  • $193,099 to BreastScreen Victoria.

Mr Andrews said Brumby Labor Government’s funding was providing Victorian hospitals with the most modern and up-to-date equipment now available with $35 million through the 2009/10 Targeted Equipment Program.

“This extra funding meets many of the agencies’ urgent equipment needs and ensures Victorians have access to high quality screening programs, laboratory testing and protocols,” he said.

“This investment will ensure Victoria can maintain its leading edge on public health testing and screening and subsequent management and control responses.”

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