Health threat as Gippsland hospitals hit with cuts

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called on the Allan Labor Government to back-track on plans to cut local hospital budgets.

Mr O’Brien said he was alarmed at local reports recently of significant cuts to hospital budgets, including $3.4 million to Yarram and District Health Service and $800,000 at South Gippsland Hospital in Foster.

Mr O’Brien said he was aware other local hospitals were facing similar drastic reductions in funding.

“The Allan Labor Government needs to reverse these funding decisions.

“At a time when the health system is under significant pressure due to Labor’s mismanagement, we can’t afford to see cuts like this.

“These significant reductions in funding would have consequences in terms of the services that can be provided and may even cost local jobs.

“This comes after Labor has so badly mismanaged the state budget, in part due to $40 billion cost overruns on the so-called ‘Big Build’ programme.

“It truly seems Labor can’t manage money and it’s Gippslanders’ health services that will suffer the consequences.”

Mr O’Brien said he remained concerned at plans to merge all Gippsland hospitals into one mega-service.

“The cynic in me wonders whether these budget cuts are about softening up the hospitals and community for a planned merger of all hospitals into one.

“This would only serve to reduce services in our communities, particularly in the smaller hospitals, as well as taking away the local voice.

“These budget cuts are a symptom of Labor’s inability to manage money and come on the back of reductions in planned elective surgery and the ongoing failure of the Government to meet targets such as ambulance response times,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Government must also end the uncertainty over the merger plan and announce its proposals as soon as possible to allow our health services to get on with the job of delivering the important care that Gippslanders need.”

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