Mary Wooldridge MP is the Shadow Minister for Health
Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge, today announced that a Liberal Nationals Government will provide up to $7 million over four years for free voluntary flu vaccinations for all Victorian children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old. Influenza is a deadly disease, with thousands of Victorians suffering from it every year. Tragically flu takes the lives of many elderly people as well as otherwise healthy young children who can be particularly vulnerable to the illness.
A report by Victoria's independent anti-corruption commission, IBAC, has been tabled in Parliament today, revealing serious drug misuse at Ambulance Victoria. Among other serious misconduct, IBAC identified the theft and misuse of morphine and fentanyl by paramedics. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and is increasingly identified as the cause of accidental deaths in Australia.
Hospitals are no doubt under massive pressure, many of them are starting the year with deficit budgets because electricity costs, in terms of the prices, have tripled as a result of Daniel Andrews' failed energy policies. In addition, the Government's change in policy and funding guidelines may cause additional impact in the order of $20m.
Victorian hospitals have learned that their peak and off-peak energy prices have as much as tripled this year compared to last. Yet, health services have not been funded to meet the increased power costs and Daniel Andrews' Government is leaving them to pick up the extortionate bill.
A Liberal Nationals Government will provide an additional $140 million to deliver world class community palliative care in Victoria. Research indicates that around 70% of Victorians want to live their final days at home surrounded by family, friends and memories. Research also shows that barely a third of Victorians get to realise this final wish due to inadequate funding for community based palliative care services.
Over the last year the Bendigo Health board has overseen a reckless transition to replace operating theatres' anaesthetic technicians with anaesthetic nurses, the withdrawal of neonatal surgical services, moving microbiology services from on-site in Bendigo to Melbourne and the botched implementation of the digital medical records, all resulting in a massive decline in staff morale and increased risk to patient safety and quality.
A government tender document has revealed that the true cost to of Daniel Andrews' new Victorian Heart Hospital has blown out from the promised $300m - $350m to as much as $600m. Daniel Andrews sat around the cabinet table that approved Myki and the desalination plant and now heâ€™s botched this hospital project.
A year after opening, the 13th floor of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) stands empty and today the Labor Government has announced the 8th floor cancer ward of the VCCC at Melbourne Health has also been scrapped. Daniel Andrews and Jill Hennessy committed that the 8th floor of the Royal Melbourne would be dedicated to treating cancer patients, but have now admitted it will instead be used for a non-cancer related disease.
With this transition to the anaesthetic nursing staff, the problem is that there is still no paediatric surgery happening as a result of these services being withdrawn. The waiting lists are growing and there is a significant cost of agency staff. I seek a commitment from the Minister for Health for Safer Care Victoria to investigate these circumstances.
In November 2014 Daniel Andrews promised Victorians that his government would deliver a new standalone 195-bed heart hospital, with the state contributing $150 million of the $300 million to $350 million cost. The state Treasurer has described this as an election commitment 'that we can't deliver'. Despite not approaching the Federal Government for funding until the Minister was shamed at a Committee hearing in March this year.