Posted on 02. May, 2012 in News
The Baillieu Government has slashed spending on the health building program and will fail to keep a key election promise to open a new Monash Children’s Hospital by the end of its first term, according to 2012-13 State Budget papers. This will mean waiting lists for elective surgery will balloon and Victorian patients will be waiting even longer for care.
The Shadow Minister for Health, Gavin Jennings, said the Baillieu Government’s health capital program was only two-thirds of what was spent on average by Victorian Governments over the previous 11 years.
“In addition, the Budget papers show growth funding for hospitals has been slashed by almost a half of what was delivered in last year’s budget.
“Also, there is no further news on the Baillieu Government’s promise to deliver an extra 800 hospital beds – when they will be delivered, if at all.
“This budget is the worst possible news for our health system and hospitals – and even worse news for families waiting for healthcare in Victoria.”
Mr Jennings said the Baillieu Government was running down Victoria’s hospitals.
“Between 1999 and 2010, an average of $581 million each year was invested in health building projects. This year, the Baillieu Government has gone significantly backwards with investment of $372 million over four years,” he said.
“Also, this budget shows a $43 million drop – or 15 per cent cut – for acute health services, such as elective surgery and emergency care at a time of record population growth and spiralling costs of health service delivery.
“Last year’s cuts to health funding have seen waiting lists balloon by an extra 7,500 people and the number of surgeries drop by 9,400.
“This budget will make these numbers even worse.”
Promised key hospital projects to miss out in this year’s Budget included:
· Monash Children’s Hospital. 30,000 children in Melbourne’s south east will be made to wait even longer, after only $7.3m was delivered for more planning. This is despite matching Labor’s commitment to fund and build the new hospital in its first term of government.
· Royal Victorian Ear and Eye Hospital. Only $2 million for planning was delivered this year, despite a key election promise to deliver $165 million.
· Bendigo Hospital. Regional Victorians are still waiting for the additional $81.5 million the Coalition promised for the new hospital.
· Box Hill. Families in Melbourne’s East are still waiting for the additional $20.5 million the Coalition promised for the hospital.
· Second Geelong Hospital. There is no funding at all in the budget for the promised $85m Waurn Ponds Hospital.
The State Budget also shows huge cuts to Department of Health programs and initiatives, including abandoning the Cancer Action Plan, HIV and STI prevention, and health promotion programs.
The budget also forecast cuts of $134.1 million to the Department of Health, in addition to the $482 million cut in last year’s budget.
“There is nothing responsible or fair about a Budget that attacks our way of life or makes sick children wait longer for care,” he said.
“The Baillieu Government said it would make things better but they have made things worse. Victorian families are paying for a Government that has no vision and no idea.”