Bendigo Hospital under pressure

BENDIGO Health is feeling the effects of state government budget cuts, according to the Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan. 

Ms Allan said a new report from the Auditor-General showed a decline in the organisation’s financial sustainability. 

“It has gone backwards over the past 12 months,” she said. 

“The reason why the financial sustainability has gone backward is they’ve had to bear the brunt of their share of the $600 million budget cuts by the Liberal-National government on the hospital. 

“It’s a big and busy hospital servicing a large geographical region, and the ER is just about the busiest in regional Victoria. 

“They need more support, not less.” 

Ms Allan said the report showed 283 people had been added to elective surgery waiting lists over the past 12 months. “Every single dollar cut from Bendigo Health is impacting patients,” she said. 

“As the state opposition representatives, myself and Maree Edwards will continue to put pressure on the government to reverse these budget cuts.” 

But Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said the hospital had seen “positive financial trends”. 

“Bendigo Health has operated a $1 million surplus for each of the past five years and is on track for a similar result this year,” he said.

“These positive financial trends have been achieved while continuing to treat an increasing number of patients.

“The going concern test is challenging for any entity that has only limited control over demand and is unable to set its own price for services offered.” 

Mr Mulder said the majority of available funds were invested in service delivery as received and cash reserves were modest as a result. He said the hospital had met its commitments for more than 150 years and he did not expect that to change soon.

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