Minister for Health media release 5 May 2015.
The Andrews Labor Government is putting the health of Victorian families first, investing an extra $1.38 billion in our hospitals, ambulances and health programs.
The 2015-16 Victorian Budget provides hospitals with additional funding, including $248.8 million in this year alone, which will help reduce waiting times in emergency departments and on elective surgery lists.
This increased funding will enable hospitals to admit an extra 60,000 patients and treat an extra 40,000 patients in emergency departments each year.
The Labor Government is fixing Victoria’s health system which was neglected under the former Liberal Government, and which will face continued pressure with the Abbott Government set to cut over $13 billion from Victoria’s public hospitals over the next ten years.
An elective surgery blitz will tackle waiting lists with $60 million for more than 11,700 extra surgeries. The Labor Government has also provided $200 million to increase hospital capacity over the next four years, in line with the findings of the review undertaken by respected surgeon and former AMA Victoria President Dr Doug Travis.
The Labor Government is also investing in new and upgraded hospital buildings and equipment, with a $560 million capital and infrastructure program.
This includes $200 million for a new Western Women’s and Children’s Hospital, $106.3 million for a major expansion of Casey Hospital, $85 million to redevelop and expand Werribee Mercy Hospital, and $15 million in initial funding to progress planning and early works for a new Victorian Heart Hospital at Monash University.
The Labor Government wants to ensure Victorians, no matter where they live, are able to access the health services they need closer to home.
An extra $99 million is also being provided to help address the ambulance crisis left behind by the Liberals.
This increased funding for Ambulance Victoria will deliver more ambulance services, upgrade ambulance branches and provide new and replacement vehicles and equipment. It will also deliver increased support services for Victoria’s hardworking paramedics.
The Ambulance Performance and Policy Consultative Committee is undertaking public consultation on its interim report and will provide final recommendations to the Government by the end of the year about how to improve ambulance response times, reduce ramping and better manage paramedic workload and fatigue.
Victorian families, particularly those with young children, will benefit from the Labor Government’s reintroduction of the Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program, which will commence from 1 June this year. This program was axed by the previous Liberal Government in 2012.
The Labor Government has invested $8.4 million to provide this vaccine for all pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation and their partners and all parents and guardians of newborn babies under six months of age.
Victorians will soon be able to access 24-hour health support through new Super Pharmacies. The $28.7 million program will provide for 15 metropolitan pharmacies and five in regional areas to stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This will provide Victorians with an alternative to going to an emergency department for minor health problems and will reduce pressure on our hospitals.
Families and children will also benefit from the Labor Government’s $15 million SunSmart education campaign to highlight the dangers of sun exposure and increase shading in public areas, particularly schools, playgrounds, beaches and parks.
The Labor Government is also investing in medical research and cutting-edge treatments to help better diagnose and treat disease and increase clinical trials.
World-class medical research institutes, teaching hospitals and universities in Victoria will work together to develop a state-wide genomic sequencing capability thanks to a $25 million investment in genomic testing.
This will help health professionals to more quickly diagnose and treat a range of rare medical conditions and illnesses such as inherited neuropathies, epilepsy, leukaemia, cancers and childhood diseases.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy
“The Andrews Labor Government is investing in our hospitals and our ambulance service to reduce emergency department waiting times and ambulance response times.”
“New and expanded hospitals will help families who live in some of the fastest growing areas in the country.”
“Labor always invests in health, unlike the Liberals who cut $1 billion out of the health system and left families on their own. We are doing everything we can to fix the mess the Liberals left behind, and it starts here.”
“It’s about fairness. Everyone should have the care they need, not just the care they can afford.”