Bendigo Health to lose $24.8 million: Labor

Lisa Chesters

Lisa Chesters

ALMOST $25 million will be ripped from Bendigo Health over the next four years as a result of Federal Budget cuts, according to the ALP. 

Labor has analysed hospital cuts made by the federal government.

The party’s figures show $28.8 million would be cut from health services in the electorate by mid-2018, with $24.8 million from Bendigo Health. 

State government sources did not dispute the figures, but the government is yet to fully calculate the impact of the cuts.  

Bendigo Health chief executive John Mulder said the impact was still unclear.  

Peter Dutton

Peter Dutton

Health Minister David Davis has spoken with his federal counterpart, Peter Dutton, about the changes, and premier Denis Napthine attended an emergency meeting with other premiers Sunday.

A COAG meeting has been called for to address the issue. 

A letter sent from Mr Davis to health services, including Bendigo Health, said aspects of commonwealth funding had changed “beyond recognition” and would lead to significant shortfalls. 

“The state and health services will be hundreds of millions, and likely billions, of dollars short from 2017 onwards,” he said. 

Mr Davis also said he did not support $7 co-payment fees for people to visit GPs. 

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the changes “could be disastrous for the health system”. 

“It puts the health of our community at risk,” she said. 

“The budget simply shows how they just don’t care about central Victoria."

Victoria will lose about $20 billion in health and education funding from the federal government as a result of the budget, which is yet to be passed by parliament. 

The former Gillard Government pulled health funding to the states in 2012, which was later re-instated. 

Ms Chesters said the same formula used by David Davis to calculate the cuts in 2012 had been used to calculate the new figures. 

“Waiting lists will blow out, beds will have to be closed,” she said. 

But a government spokesman said the Labor Party was scaremongering.

"The Health Budget is growing steadily under the Coalition and funding to the states for hospitals is rising at around nine per cent per year for the next three years," he said.

"The changes we're making will ensure that our health system remains sustainable into the future, while our $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund will make Australia a world leader in uncovering cures to our worst diseases."

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