This is a very lacklustre Heath budget characterised by capital cost blowouts and important projects shifted to the never never.
Daniel Andrews’ investment in Hospitals is summed up by his broken promise that the Heart Hospital would only cost the taxpayers $150 million and that it would be built by 2018. In reality the cost of the Heart Hospital has now blown out to $543 million and will not be completed until 2023! This is a project that has struggled to find any additional funding partners, instead leaving the Victorian taxpayer to pick up the bill.
It’s going to take 8 years to redevelop the Ballarat Hospital, and the ghost floor in the new building remains, when it should have been fitted out with additional operating theatres years ago. At the same time the waiting list for elective surgery in Ballarat has blown out to over 1,100 patients.
With such a large blowout in funding for the Heart Hospital, there is no funding for new Footscray or Warragul Hospitals, or the redevelopment of the Alfred Hospital, the Royal Melbourne, or Warrnambool Hospital despite all 5 projects having received planning funding in recent years.
There is also a major black hole in the funding for the Electronic Medical Record at the Parkville Hospitals, with the PwC Business case saying it would require $199m to do properly and Daniel Andrews only funding 60% of it.
Daniel Andrews’ promise to fund the Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery has still not been delivered and instead has disappeared from the Budget Papers.
Further, Daniel Andrews committed to a new Proton Beam Therapy Centre but has missed the boat with the business plan taking years to complete and a funding request to the Federal Government a year after they had announced funding for the Australian centre to go to South Australia.
The Government has funded the Free Flu Vax for kids in a cynical election year only commitment as well as only a single year of funding for expanded Patient Transport for Country Victorians. Both these commitments undermine the health needs and support of Victorians by failing to commit on an ongoing basis.
With cost blow outs, missed opportunities and promises not fulfilled Daniel Andrews has shown when it comes to Health he continues to put politics ahead of patients.