I welcome the Minister for Health’s visit to our local hospital today and hope she takes the time to listen to the staff about the damage being done by her Government’s cuts to public hospitals.
The Minister will see what a fantastic job the nurses, doctors and other staff at Ballarat Hospital do every day for our community under increasingly trying circumstances.
But she should be up front with them about why she wants to make that job even harder by cutting billions from our public hospitals.
The Victorian Health Minister estimates that the Turnbull Government’s broken promises will cost the state’s hospitals $17.7 billion over the next decade, including $455 million ripped from Ballarat Health Services.
This month’s COAG meeting saw Malcolm Turnbull return just a fraction of these cuts, meaning Ballarat residents will be waiting longer for elective surgery and face longer delays in emergency departments.
At the same time, the Liberals’ freeze on Medicare rebates will force many doctors to increase out of pocket payments and drive more patients into Emergency Departments.
And Malcolm Turnbull’s $650 million in cuts to pathology and diagnostic imaging could see patients being treated for cancer, and other serious health conditions forced to fork out thousands of dollars upfront to pay for MRIs, X-Rays, CAT scans and mammograms.
By contrast, the election of a Labor Government in Victoria has seen a $335 million boost to hospital funding which will see nearly 200,000 Victorians get the surgery they need sooner this year.
This funding package will mean hospitals across Victoria – including Ballarat Base Hospital – will share in funding for new theatres, more beds and more equipment so they can treat more patients, more quickly.
But this funding boost by Victorian Labor is being undermined by the federal Liberals and their attack on public hospitals.
The Liberals’ cuts to health and hospitals in Victoria, their freeze on Medicare rebates and cuts to scans and tests highlight yet again that only Labor believes in Medicare and only Labor believes in keeping our public hospitals strong.
I welcome the Minister for Health to Ballarat and look forward to her explanation of her Government’s cuts.
FRIDAY, 15 APRIL 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: STEPHEN SPENCER 0423 596 573