Davis says state not to blame for cuts to Bendigo Health

VICTORIAN health minister David Davis has denied claims by state and federal Labor ministers that the Victorian government is to blame for cuts to Bendigo Health services.

Bendigo Health chief executive officer John Mulder yesterday said the hospital would close beds, cut elective surgery and make staff redundancies after the federal government pulled $2.9 million of funding for the 2012-2013 financial year.

But Victorian member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said Coalition government cuts in the last two budgets has had a drastic impact on health services.

“What we do know is before any change in federal funding took place, there had been a dramatic increase on Bendigo Health’s elective-surgery waiting list,” she said. 

“This is a direct consequence of the $616 million of Coalition government cuts Bendigo Health has had to endure in the last two budgets.”

Federal Labor member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons echoed the sentiment.

“The last two Victorian budgets have cut health funding,” he said.

 “The proof is in record high numbers of people on Victorian elective surgery waiting lists.” 

But Mr Davis said the Victorian government had increased funding to health services since its term began in 2010.

“The Baillieu government has increased health funding by $1.3 billion since coming to office,” he said.

He said an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report showed the federal government had reduced its share of expenditure for public hospitals from 44 per cent of all funding in 2008-09 to 39.1 per cent in 2010-2011. 

“Julia Gillard has been caught out cutting state health budgets savagely halfway through the financial year,” he said.

Victorian member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards was unavailable for comment

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