HOSPITAL beds will close in Warrnambool and across Victoria because the state and federal governments still can’t agree on how many people live in Victoria.
The bitter standoff continued this week with Victorian Health Minister David Davis accusing his federal counterpart Tanya Plibersek of fixing population figures to justify last year’s $107 million health cuts.
Both leaders met in Canberra on Wednesday in a failed bid to find a resolution, a day before Mr Davis flew into Warrnambool which has felt the effects of a $1.4 million funding cut.
“It was a very disappointing meeting, the federal minister was intransigent,” Mr Davis told The Standard.
Hundreds of beds in Victoria will close and thousands of elective surgery operations will be delayed because neither side can agree on the state population that forms the basis for federal funding.
The move has placed hospitals, including South West Healthcare, in turmoil.
The Standard has been provided with Mr Davis’s latest letter to the federal minister in which he accuses her department of deliberately using outdated figures over recent ones used by other federal departments in June last year.
“I had sought for her to contact the federal treasurer and to seek some of the working documents behind the decision of the Treasurer,” he said.
“Unfortunately the federal health minister was unprepared to walk down the corridor, unprepared to even look at or examine the documents on which the decision was made.
“He (Treasurer Wayne Swan) used old data and we’ve had a formal examination of that data and it’s very clear what the federal treasurer did was flawed and that has had a huge consequence in Victoria.”
Both sides have accused the other of cutbacks, while claiming to be boosting their own health budgets.
Ms Plibersek has repeatedly directed attention to Spring Street’s decision to remove $600 million from health.