SOUTH WEST Healthcare has warned it will look at trimming services to cope with a massive increase in energy bills as a result of the new carbon tax regime.
Other hospitals in the region are also grappling with the cost increases, for which they receive no extra government subsidies to compensate. All have implemented new efficiency measures to lower energy consumption.
The Warrnambool-based health provider estimates its bills will rise by $184,000 this financial year as a result of the tax, while Hamilton-based Western District Health Service expects a $130,000 impost.
“There is no supplementation from either federal or state governments as a result of this tax and, as a consequence, service delivery in some areas will have to be reduced,” South West Healthcare chief executive John Krygger told The Standard.
“The board will adopt the budget on July 26 at which stage the range of savings will be announced.”
St John of God Hospital in Warrnambool and Portland District Health are also factoring in hefty increases.
“We acknowledge there will be an increase in our energy costs, but until the first bill arrives it is too difficult to put an actual figure on it,” St John of God chief executive Glyn Palmer said.
“In the meantime we will continue to manage our resources as best we can to ensure there is no wastage.
“The hospital is not eligible for any carbon tax compensation.”
The state government calculates carbon tax could cost the Victorian public healthcare system around $13 million in 2013 and rise up to $19 million in 2020.
“Carbon tax will have a very real impact on the budgets of all Victorian hospitals,” a spokeswoman for Health Minister David Davis said.
“There is no compensation, adjustment or rebate for heath care providers.
“The Victorian government is raising with the Commonwealth the impact of the carbon tax on hospitals at the same time as supporting healthcare services to manage that impact.
“The Department of Health is assisting public healthcare services secure grant funding to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon intensity.”
Western District Health Service chief executive Jim Fletcher estimated its electricity bill would rise by more than $80,000 and gas by almost $49,000. He said there was an ongoing energy reduction and water-saving program.
A new $240,000 building management system to be installed would save about $30,000 a year, he said, and a state grant of $220,000 had been secured for the project.
South West Healthcare has implemented a number of initiatives including low-energy design and a gas-powered heat and power co-generation unit at its new base hospital and community health buildings.
“Great care has been taken to minimise heat loss in the colder months and reduce heat flow into these buildings in summer,” Mr Krygger said.
“It has been estimated that the additional costs arising from the introduction of the carbon tax will increase our energy costs in 2012-13 by $147,000 for electricity $147k and $37,000 for gas.”