Hospital chief says full budget impact unclear

BENDIGO Health chief executive John Mulder says the Federal Budget's proposed $7 GP co-payment could put extra pressure on emergency departments.

HEALTH CUTS: Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder raises concerns about the budget.

HEALTH CUTS: Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder raises concerns about the budget.

Mr Mulder said the proposed co-payment could deter people from seeking treatment from their GP.

“This would likely lead to increased attendances at EDs and the impact on Bendigo Health is unclear at this stage," he said.

"In the first three months of this year alone we saw 11,664 patients who presented to our emergency department - up from 11,459 presentations a year earlier.

“There is no doubt this will increase dramatically if patients with a pressing health concern, who cannot afford to see their GP, come to us for care."

Mr Mulder has expressed concern about the magnitude of funding cuts and said he was disappointed to see a reduction in funding for primary and preventative health.

“While we are unclear what the exact impact of the cuts will be they come at a time when health services are facing unprecedented demand," he said.

“During the first three months of this year alone Bendigo Health admitted 9582 patients – up from 9032 admissions a year earlier.

“And we received 2,861 ambulance arrivals at our busy ED during the same period – up from 2554 arrivals a year earlier ... 

"Bendigo Health will not know the impact on our community until our funding package for 2014-15 is finalised by the state government in June."

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