Mary Wooldridge MP is the Shadow Minister for Health
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.
â€‹The massive cost of Daniel Andrewsâ€™ ideological decision to scrap Peter Mac Private on the 13th floor of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) continues to grow. Secretary Kym Peake revealed at a Department of Health and Human Services parliamentary estimates inquiry that the State Government has spent $11.9m fitting out the 13th floor of the VCCC for tenants who have yet to move in.
It is unacceptable that Daniel Andrews' review into the Thunderstorm Asthma event will take over five months. Daniel Andrews and Jill Hennessy continue to avoid answering basic questions about what else could have and should have been done, instead relying on a drawn-out review, which wonâ€™t report till late April.
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?