Stoush over Victorian hospital waiting lists

 THE State Government should release documents detailing the impact hospital budget cuts are having on waiting lists, according to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan. 

The Herald Sun yesterday published details from confidential documents which it said showed the Baillieu Government had signed off on a deal that would grow waiting lists. 

Ms Allan said the Statement of Priority documents for Bendigo Health should be released by the government. 

“They’re meant to be made public,” she said.  

“This is a document that details how much money the hospitals are spending, what they’ll spend it on and the impact of that on waiting lists. 

“They have not released the statement of priorities, signed off in September last year. 

“They’ve been hiding them from public scrutiny because it is these documents that will show the impact of the $616 million cuts to health system the government has made.”

Ms Allan said people on waiting lists wanted to know what was happening with the system, which she said was under extreme pressure because of the state government. 

“The Herald Sun report details impacts on two hospital networks,” she said. 

“I think it’s time the same information is released that shows what’s happening at Bendigo Hospital.”

But Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said it was “a bit rich” for Jacinta Allan to talk about transparency. 

“The Labor government spent 11 years trying to hide the true waiting list when they were in power,” he said. 

“For 11 years patients went on a second list to go on the waiting list. 

“Whilst we’ll have to deal with the Statement of Priorities issue in the best way that we can, I don’t think Labor has any credibility on the issue.”

Mr Drum said keeping surgery waiting lists in check had been an “extreme challenge for everyone concerned”.  

“People keep presenting at emergency rooms at rates never seen before,” he said.  

“There’s constant pressure to keep the waiting lists in check. 

“I hope people understand the extent of disruption that has been caused by the federal government and their cuts which made so much uncertainty for the last three months before they did their backflip.”

He said Ms Allan should call Prime Minister Julia Gillard to request federal funding be reinstated next financial year. 

Health Minister David Davis could not be contacted yesterday.

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