Posted on 05. Apr, 2011 in Clayton Update

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews today released the Baillieu Government’s plan for health which reveals hundreds of millions of dollars in short-falls for major hospital upgrades on what is turning out to be a merry-go-round of broken promises and half-baked policies.

Mr Andrews said three versions of the Liberal National’s health plan obtained by the Opposition showed the Coalition is planning to short change Victorians by failing to reveal that key hospital upgrades would take more than a decade to complete.

“Ted Baillieu and David Davis must explain why they misled Victorian patients and refused to release their major health plan during the last election campaign,” Mr Andrews said.

“These documents show that their health plan changed by the hour and Mr Baillieu needs to say why these policies were never released.

“Was it that Mr Baillieu was too gutless to tell Victorians what his plan for health in the state was or did he lack faith in Mr Davis’ ability to develop a strong set of initiatives to campaign on?”

Mr Andrews said the Coalition documents revealed a dumped plan to halve elective surgery waiting lists and provide more surgery for patients.

The documents also showed countless initiatives which were abandoned or announced with significantly less funding by the Coalition.

The Coalition was planning to cut funding to health initiatives before it was even elected.

“What is more embarrassing for Mr Davis is that his own documents state an election commitment to deliver a metropolitan health plan within 120 days of being elected,” he said.

Key highlights of the Coalition’s secret never been released health plan include:

  • Only $186 million will be spent on four major hospital upgrades worth $557 million in the Coalition’s first term;
  • An upgrade to the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital will take more than eight years to complete;
  • Just $60 million will be allocated for the Monash Children’s Hospital in the next term, a $250 million project which Labor planned to deliver by 2014;
  • Half of the additional $40 million committed to Box Hill Hospital redevelopment by the Coalition will be delivered by Ted Baillieu after the project is scheduled for completion; and
  • The Bendigo Hospital redevelopment started by Labor will now not be completed for another decade.

Shadow Health Minister Gavin Jennings said the documents also revealed a litany of policies which the Coalition has concealed.

“They dumped a plan to introduce a maximum waiting time for patients to see a specialist and discarded a policy to reduce by half the incidents of ambulance ramping,” Mr Jennings said.

“In just hours they scrapped a plan to expand Casey Hospital and boost emergency care services at Sunbury Day Hospital.”

Mr Jennings said the documents also revealed the true costings of several policies announced during the election campaign.

“Mr Davis needs to come clean and tell Victorians the true cost of these policies or let them become black holes of his own creation,” he said.

“More than 120 days later, Victorian patients deserve to know what Mr Davis will do for health services and health staff in our state.

“We have seen that with his refusal to commit to the third stage of the Olivia Newton John Cancer Centre and continue funding the infant hearing screening program.”

The Coalition’s health plan showed they had originally budgeted:

  • $303 million to reduce hospital admissions, announced with no funding;
  • $40 million for an outpatient improvement fund, announced at $20 million;
  • $72 million to employ more health professionals, announced at $48 million; and
  • $7.54 million for a dental employment program, announced at $3.25 million.

Mr Jennings said the Baillieu Government could not be trusted to deliver improvements in Victoria’s health system.

“Today, Labor has exposed the Coalition’s flawed health plan. A plan which they failed to release before last year’s election,” he said.

“Mr Davis, Victorians are still waiting for your health plan and Labor hopes it will be better than the sham revealed today.”

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