MEMBER for Bendigo Steve Gibbons has again accused Bendigo Health bosses of deceiving the community.
Mr Gibbons revealed the impact of recent budget cuts yesterday despite a Bendigo Health media embargo on the information.
He said Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder and chairman Michael Langdon had ignored Victorian government cuts.
“Dr Langdon and Mr Mulder have deliberately deceived this community by again failing to even mention the savage health cuts that Ted Baillieu has inflicted on Bendigo Health that are clearly evident in their own budget papers,” Mr Gibbons said. “Bendigo Health’s media release indicates that the cost-saving measures will reduce elective surgery by 600 cases between Easter and June 30.
“Dr Langdon and Mr Mulder would have us believe that a $2.9 million reduction in funding will result in a drop of 600 elective surgeries, while a cut of $15.2 million, which has already resulted in a 283-case reduction according to available data, will have no further effect.”
Mr Gibbons said some of the changes had been planned before the budget cuts and that the federal cuts were the implementation of “indexation arrangements”.
“I understand that a proposal to amalgamate the orthopaedic, surgical and medical wards had been under consideration for some time, again well before the federal government’s indexation arrangements were implemented,” he said.
“The cost savings announced (yesterday) by closing 24 beds, made up of eight beds from each of the surgical, medical and orthopaedic wards, will have precisely the same effect as amalgamating the wards.”
But Mr Mulder said state cuts were delivered in a planned manner but the federal cuts had come in the middle of the financial year with only two weeks’ notice.
“When government revenues are increasing by only 3 per cent, it becomes a mathematical certainly that our governments and our community will have nothing left for policing, social welfare, public housing... many of which are the social determinants of health,” Mr Mulder said.
“We might end up with a great health system, but a very sick population at the door trying to get in.
“The amount promised by the state government has stayed the same; the amount promised by the federal government has reduced for the rest of this year by $107 million.
“The payments to Bendigo Health from December have been reduced by about $200,000 per payment.”
The state and federal health ministers will meet for 45 minutes at Melbourne Airport on Friday to discuss the cuts.