Hospital funds increase

CENTRAL Gippsland Health Service will receive a boost of $926,000 in the 2015-16 budget allocations for Victorian hospitals, taking its annual budget allocation to $57.9 million. 

The increase, announced by Health Minister Jill Hennessy was part of the government’s $15.85 billion spend across the entire health system, in funding for hospitals, ambulance services, mental health and drugs services, aged care, community health and public health services, and is an increase of six per cent on 2014-15.

While the announcement makes clear there is an increase of $926,000 for CGHS, it is not the funding needed for the upgrade of the Sale hospital’s oncology department the hospital and local community has been fundraising for.

CGHS chief executive officer Frank Evans said the extra funding was actually part of the annual operating budget allocated to the hospital.

Dr Evans said while the increase of 1.6 per cent was modest, it would allow CGHS to continue to provide all current services. 

“We are working in a challenging environment,” Dr Evans said. 

“But we will continue to deliver an excellent service to our community.”

The big winners in Gippsland were Latrobe Regional Hospital with a $5.2 million increase, taking its funding to $169.1 million, and Bairnsdale Regional Health Service with a $2.3 million increase to $52.1 million.

Eastern Victoria Region MLC Harriet Shing said the government was getting on with rebuilding the health system so that Gippslanders could access the support and treatment they need.

“The doctors, nurses and staff at Central Gippsland Health Service provide invaluable service and care to the community. I’m proud to be part of a government that is investing in our health system which means our workers can provide even better care for patients all over the region,” she said.

Victorian hospitals will share $9.4 billion, which is $451.8 million (five per cent) more than was provided in 2014-15.

Ms Hennessy said the additional funding would support health services to meet the increasing demands of a growing and ageing population, expand and improve services and care, and reduce waiting times.

She said the government’s extra investment in hospitals would enable an additional 60,000 patients to be admitted and an extra 40,000 patients to be treated in emergency departments, each year.

The government has also invested more than $560 million to build new hospitals, expand and redevelop health and ambulance facilities and purchase and upgrade equipment.

“We are providing extra funding to hospitals; we are building and expanding health services; and we are improving care in our communities. We are putting patients first,” Ms Hennessy said

“Not only are we investing more in health than the previous Liberal Government, we are also making important reforms so that our health system improves and Victorians can get the care they need, when they need it.”

In addition, the government has provided $200 million for a Hospital Beds Rescue Fund to open beds and points of care at hospitals across Victoria. The minister said this would enable hospitals to treat more patients sooner and reduce waiting times for elective surgery and emergency care.