Health | April 04, 2024

More pain for regional Victorians as Labor imposes health cuts

Member for Lowan and Deputy Leader of the Nationals Emma Kealy says drastic reductions in health funding by the Allan Labor Government are deeply concerning for regional Victorians, who will inevitably pay the price for Premier Allan’s health cuts

Regional hospitals are under threat like never before, with the Allan Labor Government set to impose severe funding cuts, triggering forced mergers, service reductions and potential closures.

These cuts, uncovered just weeks out from a looming horror State Budget, are expected to collectively amount to millions of dollars.

In a further blow, the Allan Labor Government is imposing unrealistic savings targets on all 76 of Victoria’s health services.

Ms Kealy said the consequences would be dire, with more than a dozen regional health services reporting operating losses in the last financial year alone. Projections indicate that by June, more than half of Victoria’s health services could face negative daily cash balances.

Ms Kealy said Labor’s measures were not efficiency improvements but rather desperate and severe cuts stemming from Labor’s financial mismanagement. 

“These cuts will directly impact on patients across regional Victoria who are already grappling with challenges in accessing basic healthcare and experiencing prolonged wait times for essential treatments,” she said.

“Under Labor, rural and regional hospitals are being forced to merge and local health services are being cut. We’ve already seen a reduction of services and management locally as a result of the Grampians Health takeover by Ballarat.

“Staff morale is incredibly low as disempowered staff try their best to work within decisions made hundreds of kilometres away by people with no connection to the local community or workforce. The budget is totally blown, and it’s now carrying one of the largest deficits of any health service in the state.”

Ms Kealy said Labor had also forced Casterton Memorial Hospital to be taken over by Western District Health Service, with absolutely no consultation with the community.

“Jacinta Allan and Labor can’t manage money, can’t manage our hospitals, and our communities are paying the price,” she said.

“Urgent action is required to address the looming crisis in Victoria's health services. The well-being of communities, particularly those in rural and regional areas, must be prioritised to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare for all Victorians.”

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