The Gillard Government’s $1.6 billion cut to public hospital funding will see about 200 nursing and other frontline jobs lost in Victoria alone and much needed beds closed across the State according to media reports today.
$107 million in public hospital funding is to be clawed back by the Commonwealth from Victorian hospitals and health services just this year. Much of this funding has already been spent or allocated by individual health services.
Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton criticised the priorities of the Gillard Government in clawing back funding from hospitals while allowing Canberra health bureaucracy to grow unabated.
“This is a Government that has limped from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis of their own making and now patients, nurses and doctors are bearing the brunt of their economic ineptitude,” Mr Dutton said.
“Federal Labor has created around a dozen new agencies, bodies and bureaucracies just in health at a cost of around $1 billion since coming to office. Incredibly these new Canberra bureaucracies seem to be quarantined from cuts while rural, regional and metropolitan hospitals and health services are being targeted.
“The cuts come on top of additional pressure Labor has put on public hospitals with nearly $4 billion cut from private health insurance in recent times and continued growth in elective surgery waiting times since 2007.
“This is likely to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the closure of patient services with more Federal Labor Budget cuts to follow in every jurisdiction across the Budget Forward Estimates.
“People in rural and regional Victoria and other areas around the country are rightly asking why they are losing hospital beds, nursing staff and vital services while Canberra continues to lease more office space for new agencies and bureaucracies that don’t treat patients,” Mr Dutton said.