Video: Bendigo Health blame game rolls on

POLITICIANS continue to squabble over who is to blame for the $2.9 million cut to Bendigo Health. 

Bendigo MP Steve Gibbons, federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and federal Minister for Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten told the Bendigo Advertiser the Victorian government was at fault. 

But Victorian Health Minister David Davis said the federal government had pulled the money and accused Mr Gibbons of failing to stick up for his electorate. 

Both sides claim growing annual hospital expenditure. 

“It’s ridiculous,” Mr Davis said. 

“We will be spending exactly as we’ve said, an increased amount for the year. 

“The Commonwealth is cutting funding from November to December, and every month through, to the total of $107 million.” 

Mr Davis said acute health spending in Victoria had grown to $7 billion. 

But Ms Plibersek said Mr Davis should take some responsibility for what was happening in the Victorian health system. 

“The Victorian government has taken money out, they’re looking around for someone to blame for the fact the elective surgery waiting lists are longer than they’ve ever been.” 

Mr Gibbons said he wasn’t trying to solely blame the state government for the situation. 

“But I’m saying the state government is also contributing to the situation because of the $600 million cuts they’ve made.”

Mr Gibbons said he was also concerned by the retrospective commonwealth “adjustments under the formula”. 

“It’s not a question of the blame game,” he said. 

“It’s about acknowledging the reality and getting on and doing something about it.” 

He said he was “quietly confident” of achieving a better result and said he was in discussions with the health minister and treasurer over the impacts the changes would have in his electorate. 

“It’s not just Bendigo, but Castlemaine, Kyneton and Maryborough hospitals too,” he said. “Anywhere there’s a public hospital will feel some impact.”

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