Cuts will lead to pain, delays, says doctor

CONCERNED: Lisa Chesters and Maree Edwards outside Bendigo Hospital. Picture: PETER WEAVING

CONCERNED: Lisa Chesters and Maree Edwards outside Bendigo Hospital. Picture: PETER WEAVING

BENDIGO surgery waiting lists and the health of patients will suffer if federal health cuts are implemented, according to Australian Medical Association Victorian president Tony Bartone.

Dr Bartone said there were about 980 patients on the Bendigo Health elective surgery waiting list.

He said last week’s budget cuts “would do nothing for these patients”.

“Victorians will be waiting longer for surgery that is in the most part causing significant pain and morbidity, there will be an increase in complications and an increased reliance on medication,” he said.

“This will absolutely not be in the best interest of patients.”

Labor Party calculations show Bendigo Health will have $24.8 million stripped from its budget by mid 2018.

State government sources have said the ALP’s figures could be used as a guide.

Dr Bartone said he could not confirm the figures as the true impact of the cuts were unknown.

“What we can confirm is $630 million is going to be ripped out of Victorian health budgets over three years because of changes announced in the budget,” he said.

“They will start to grip from July 1.

“What Premier Denis Napthine has indicated in the Victorian press is these cuts will result in less hospital beds being available."

Dr Napthine met with other state premiers at the weekend and there is a push for all state leaders to meet the federal government.

State Health Minister David Davis, who will visit Bendigo on Tuesday, said there was still uncertainty surrounding the federal government’s contribution to Victoria from July 1.

The Ambulance Employees Australia union also has concerns about the impact on paramedics. 

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters asked if the state government would “plug the gap”, introduce new taxes or cut services.

“This budget just tears at the fabric of Australia,” she said.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said Castlemaine Hospital, which was already running at a deficit, would further struggle.

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