ADJOURNMENT – Monash Medical Centre: funding – Tuesday, 28 Feb 2012

Posted on 08. Mar, 2012 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — The matter I raise is for the attention of the Minister for Health, and I raise it through the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, who is at the table. The matter concerns funding for Monash Medical Centre, including the Monash Children’s centre and the 45 hospital beds at Monash Medical Centre that were closed between 23 December 2011 and 25 January 2012. Bed closures were reported in the Herald Sun of 8 February 2012 following an audit by the Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing Federation. The action I seek from the minister is for him to provide adequate funding to Southern Health as a matter of urgency to ensure continuation of the stable and smooth operation of that body.

On 16 January 2012 the Herald Sun reported that just 2 of the 19 new beds and cots at Monash Children’s new ward have been funded. The 19 new beds and cots were designed to fill the gap until the new $250 million Monash Children’s is built. The number of critically ill babies transferred interstate for treatment doubled last year, so it is time to stop dithering. On 8 February on Jon Faine’s ABC morning radio program the minister advised that one neonatal bed was about to come on line — only one. In case the minister is not aware of this, the Monash Children’s centre caters for young patients from the south‑eastern suburbs all the way down to Wonthaggi.

On 14 November 2011, during a period of industrial action by the Australian Nursing Federation, the minister in an interview on 3AW is reported to have said, and I quote:

Clearly lives are at risk as hundreds of beds are closed.

It is now time that he accepted responsibility for this debacle. There is a lack of funding and a lack of leadership. Hospitals have been forced to close beds to meet the Baillieu government’s budget cuts. In the 2011 budget only $8.5 million of the $250 million needed to build the new 230‑bed Monash Children’s centre was provided. No wonder the Liberal Party hid its health policies from Victorians at the last election.

The minister must take urgent action to open up these closed beds, provide urgent funding for the 19 new beds and cots at Monash Children’s and commit to a time line for the extra promised beds. The people in the south‑east, particularly the people of Clayton, want to know what action he is taking to obtain funding for the new Monash Children’s hospital to ensure its opening before the end of 2014, as promised by the Premier.


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