Mary Wooldridge MP is the Shadow Minister for Health
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nursing staff, the problem is that there is still no paediatric surgery happening as a result of these services being withdrawn.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.
Our state's population has grown by around 300,000 which means many of our hospitals need to be upgraded to meet increasing demand. But despite record tax increases of over 20%, Daniel Andrews is holding money back so he can go on a vote buying exercise for next year's election.
Ambulance performance data released today shows that Ambulance Victoria responded to 23 per cent fewer Code 1 emergencies compared to the same time last year. It is clear that published response time improvements are a result of a massive reduction in the number of ambulance attendances, not an improvement in service delivery for patients.
Today's final report by the Inspector General for Emergency Management into the response to the Thunderstorm Asthma event shows Victorians were let down by the Andrew's Government who failed warn people, failed to activate appropriate emergency responses and failed to show the leadership such an event required.
In an act of absolute hypocrisy, 75 of the beds in the Heart Hospital are likely to be private, while Daniel Andrews axed 42 Private beds at the new Peter Mac, with the 13th floor, where they would have been located, remaining empty. Daniel Andrews' promises are clearly not worth the paper they are written on.
The Liberal National Coalition Government worked hard to plan, fund and begin construction of this outstanding facility which will deliver paediatric cancer, intensive care, neonatal and mental health services. When Daniel Andrews was Heath Minister, not one dollar was spent on delivering a new Monash Children's Hospital.
We do know of course that the cancer centre would not have existed if the Liberals and Nationals did not commit to it. We made a commitment of an additional $100 million that meant that the new Bendigo Hospital would not only be a new hospital but would have additional beds, a mother and baby unit â€” something I am very proud of â€” an integrated cancer centre and new educational facilities. So this new Bendigo Hospital is world class because of the additional $100 million commitment, and it has realised that full potential.