SOUTH-WEST hospitals have been spared more financial surgery after the Gillard government backed down on a plan to retrospectively cut $107 million of Victorian hospital funding.
The Commonwealth had come under pressure after using a technical adjustment to Victoria’s population estimate to justify the cuts, worth $107m this financial year and $475 million over four years.
In a surprise about-face, it will not press ahead with the $107m cut. The money will be instead immediately paid directly to hospital administrators.
The news will come as a huge relief for Warrnambool Base Hospital which had closed beds and delayed elective surgery after losing $1.4m in funding.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the Baillieu government had shown it could not be trusted to manage its health and hospital budget.
“The cash injection will be paid directly to Local Hospital Networks, which will distribute the money to ailing Victorian hospitals, and will not pass through the hands of the Baillieu government which has proven itself to be a cruel and incompetent manager of the Victorian health system,” she said. “We believe we have an obligation to ensure Victorians are given the best possible health care.
“We will not stand by and allow Premier Baillieu’s politicking to hurt patients.
“For two years Premier Baillieu’s blatant disregard for the welfare of Victorian patients has seen beds close, elective surgery waiting lists blow out and standards of care decline.” THE AGE