Emergency Departments To Close Due To Turnbull Cuts

29 March 2016

Patients in Williamstown and Sandringham could be forced to travel further and wait longer to receive emergency care unless Malcolm Turnbull reverses his latest round of $73 million cuts to Victoria’s health system.

Western Health has advised the Andrews Labor Government that in order to save the close to $5 million in funding the Federal Liberal Government has cut, it would be forced to completely close the Williamstown Hospital Emergency Department.

This would see around 6,670 patients sent to other health services for emergency treatment.

A $5.8 million cut to Alfred Health’s budget bottom line could see the health service with no other option but to close Sandringham Hospital’s Emergency Department from 7pm to 7am to recover the costs, turning the 24 hour Emergency Department into a 12 hour operation.

Alfred Health’s elective surgery waiting lists could also blow out by an additional 300 patients, with staff redundancies likely to follow.

The impact of these brutal cuts comes as the Labor Government is set to take High Court action against the Federal Liberal Government to recover the $73 million in funding that has been wrongfully stripped from Victorian hospitals and patients.

Despite previously agreeing to the way Victoria calculates health activity funding - as applied by the former Victorian Liberal Government – the Turnbull Government, through the National Health Funding Pool Administrator, back-flipped on how the National Health Funding Pool is calculated and allocated in Victoria.

This back-flip means Malcolm Turnbull is clawing back $73 million in health funding from Victoria – nine months into the financial year - leaving hospitals across the state facing cuts of millions of dollars to fill this black-hole.

Victoria believes this constitutes a breach of the agreement Victoria had entered into with the Federal Government.

Given Malcolm Turnbull has refused to return this funding to Victorian hospitals and we are now seeing the devastating impact of these cuts on hospitals and patients, Victoria has been left with no alternative but to take legal action to force the Federal Liberal Government to return the funding.

These savage cuts come at a time when Victoria’s health system is already under attack from the Federal Liberal Government with another $17.7 billion in cuts soon to hit our hospitals.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“With hospitals across the state facing elective surgery blowouts, emergency department closures and job losses, we have been left with no option but to take this to the High Court.”

“Cuts to health hurt patients. Cuts to health mean emergency departments close, and mean less doctors and nurses.”

“It’s time Malcolm Turnbull stops the health cuts, returns the funding that is rightfully ours, and puts the health and safety of Victorian patients first.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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