Labor is deeply disappointed the Hodgman Government has refused access to the Royal Hobart Hospital site at a time when its Liberal mates in Canberra are gutting the state’s hospital funding.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, Shadow Health Minister Catherine King and Member for Franklin Julie Collins were all refused access to the site, and instead only offered a briefing across the road.
It is understandable why the Hodgman Government is so sensitive about the Royal Hobart Hospital Redevelopment, given ongoing concerns the project is running overtime, over budget, and is now the subject of serious health and safety concerns.
However, given Premier Hodgman’s declaration that the Turnbull Government’s cuts to the state hospitals are “untenable and unsustainable”, Labor is disappointed his government is putting the protection of its Liberal mates in Canberra ahead of the needs of patients in his state.
Parliamentary Budget Office documents show the Turnbull Government’s $57 billion in cuts to public hospitals over the next decade will cost Tasmania $1.151 billion.
The biggest impact from those cuts will be felt in the South, with $600 million ripped out of the local hospital budget, almost equal to the entire funding for the current RHH redevelopment project alone.
Hospital services in the North-west will lose around $150 million and around $350 million will be cut from the North.
Based on the State Government’s own figures these cuts mean Tasmanians will miss out on more than 200 000 operations, or a permanent 2 500 reduction in the number of hospital beds.
These cuts mean Tasmanians will wait longer for a hospital bed and face longer delays in Emergency at the RHH.
Premier Will Hodgman’s previous Budget decisions suggest further cuts to the number of doctors, nurses and health professionals is likely.
These cuts will quite simply cost many Tasmanians their health for years to come.
ESTIMATED REGIONAL DISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CUTS
Source: Parliamentary Budget Office Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Health regarding Commonwealth funding of public hospitals (analysis based on National Health Funding Pool – Financial Statement Tasmania 2014)