Health cut fears slammed

Bendigo members fear funding loss will affect critical services

CUTS: Lisa Chesters, Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards outside the hospital. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

CUTS: Lisa Chesters, Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards outside the hospital. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

THE Health Minister has slammed Bendigo Labor members' claims that a believed $25 million of funding cuts to Bendigo Health will see one in 13 beds shut and one in three doctors lose their jobs.

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters, Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards cut a giant cheque outside the hospital on Tuesday to represent the loss of funding.

They believe the new hospital might not even be able to open as a result of federal budget cuts.

Ms Chesters said Prime Minister Tony Abbott had ripped billions of dollars from the health fund, meaning serious consquences for the central Victorian region.

She said after calculating the figures, it was expected that $24,850,404 would be cut from Bendigo Health as of July 1.

The elected representatives fear the expected funding loss, along with $831 million in cuts by the state government, would mean more critical services suffered in Bendigo.

These figures have no standing, no status and no accuracy. - Health Minister David Davis

“These cuts will increase emergency department waiting times, increase elective surgery waiting times, and reduce the number of hospital beds across the country," Ms Chesters said. 

Ms Edwards and Ms Allan went on to say that Premier Denis Napthine and Health Minister David Davis refused to stand up and fight for regional Victoria. 

They called on the government to provide answers on what services would be cut as a result of the "massive Liberal cuts".

“The federal budget is a horror budget for patients because it’s a Liberal budget,” Ms Allan said.

However Mr Davis said it remained unknown how much would be cut from local services. 

"These figures have no standing, no status and no accuracy," he said. 

"They have been concocted in a Labor office and are total nonsense. 

"How can Labor know what the final budget is when the final figures haven't even been released?"

A Bendigo Health spokesperson said the organisation was not aware of any cuts. 

Liberal candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley has been contacted for comment. 

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