Mary Wooldridge MP is the Shadow Minister for Health
Annual reports just released in parliament indicate 21 Victorian hospitals are currently operating in deficit - 19 of these are located in rural and regional areas. Why is it that more often than not, when we hear of a hospital service facing cuts or struggling to retain doctors, it is in a regional area?
Before the last election, Daniel Andrews claimed ambulance response times were in crisis and said he would fix it. After nearly two years as Premier, he is nowhere near his target, with response times similar to what they were under the previous government when Daniel Andrews claimed it was a crisis.
The Premier made election commitments to improve ambulance performance. More than a year into his leadership, data released today has revealed a failure by the Premier to deliver on his commitments.
Daniel Andrews refusal to properly fund the hospital has meant that beds and theatres are closed. Without additional funding from the Andrews Government, Peter Mac is operating at its old capacity, simply in a new location.
Daniel Andrewsâ€™ pigheadedness means Victoria will bypass the unique opportunity to get our brand new Heart Hospital right. In the ultimate display of hypocrisy, Daniel Andrews welcomes private healthcare for people with heart disease when he has denied thousands of cancer sufferers access to private treatment at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Daniel Andrews needs to guarantee that the hundreds of millions of additional dollars that this agreement will cost Victorian hospitals and health services will be fully funded by his government and that hospitals and health services will not have to cut patient care to pay for this expensive deal.
This budget has seen funding for Dental Health slashed by 15% after acknowledging that "good oral health is the foundation for good overall health". A paramedic pay rise, set to cost Victorian tax payers $54 million and delivers nothing for core public health issues of smoking or obesity.
Daniel Andrews' reckless decision to cut beds and $20 million from the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre will mean that this hospital opens with a completely vacant floor. This purely ideological decision to axe the private hospital will mean that over 10,000 people will miss out on world-class cancer treatment every year.
Daniel Andrews Ambulance plan looks more like a glossy plan for another plan. If Daniel Andrews had not wasted over $1.1 billion on tearing up the East West Link contract he could have built an entire new hospital like the Royal Childrens Hospital or employed hundreds of new paramedics across Victoria for years to come.
State Liberal Leader Matthew Guy has today confirmed that a Liberal-National Government will build the $100 million Stage two upgrade of Warrnambool Base Hospital.