Victorian health chiefs to meet with MP 

BENDIGO Health staff will today meet Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to discuss a recent $2.9 million funding cut. 

Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said the hospital might be forced to stop elective surgeries from April to July and staff may have to “find something else to do” for a few months. 

He said in a staff memo that the minister had listened to the pleas for help from the Victorian health sector, with representatives from about 35 health organisations to meet Ms Plibersek.

The hospital needed time to adjust to the changes, Mr Mulder said. 

“The minister will hear first-hand of the impact of the cuts on staff and our patients,” he said. 

“She will hear of the challenges of telling doctors, theatre staff and surgical ward staff that we will be ceasing elective surgery in April, requesting them to take leave or find something else to do for a few months but come back in July because we will need you again then. 

“The Minister will also be advised of how finely tuned our health system funding is at present and how little fat is left in the system, a system that can’t adjust overnight to accommodate a funding cut of such magnitude without significant impacts on patient access.”

Mr Mulder said the health system needed annual funding increases of almost five per cent, but government revenue was increasing by less than three per cent. 

“We need time to adjust and I am hopeful that this might be one of the outcomes of the meeting,” he said. 

Bendigo Health chairman Michael Langdon will represent Bendigo Health at the Melbourne meeting. 

Mr Mulder said he was pleased the minister had agreed to meet the Victorian health service chairs and chief executives.

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