Row over Bendigo Health funding

A FUNDING stoush is brewing between the federal and state governnments over Bendigo Health.

It follows claims the Bendigo Health Care Group is facing a $1.7 million cut to its bottom-line budget due to federal government cuts.

State Health Minister Jill Hennessy has branded the cuts as "savage" and called on the federal government to reverse its decision.

Bendigo Health is remaining tight-lipped over the funding issue.

A spokesperson said the health provider was awaiting a response from the federal government.

The row over funding comes as Bendigo Health prepares to announce on Friday when the new hospital will open its doors.

Ms Hennessy said cuts to the hospital's funding would hit next month, creating a black-hole nine months into its annual budget.

She estimated more than $73 million had been cut from the Victorian health budget.

“These cuts are a direct attack on Bendigo hospital, and will see patients waiting longer for surgeries and treatment," Ms Hennessy said.

“This is not good enough, and Bendigo patients deserve better.”

“Before the last election, the Liberals promised they wouldn’t cut health – yet all we’ve seen is cut, after cut, after cut.”

Ms Hennessy blamed changes in the way Canberra calculates health activity for the funding dilemma.

"Despite previously agreeing to Victoria’s counting method, applied by the former Victorian Liberal government, the federal Liberal government, through the National Health Funding Pool Administrator, has back-flipped on how the National Health Funding Pool is calculated and allocated in Victoria," she said.

"Due to the change in counting measures, Victoria will not only lose $73 million upfront, we will be slugged by a further $36.6 million cut every year from now into the future."

The Advertiser has sought comment from federal Health Minister Sussan Ley's office.