Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews
Mildura Base Hospital Returning Back To Public Hands
Victor P Taffa
Andrews Government will return the Mildura Base Hospital back to public hands where it should always have been ensuring that all funding goes into the care of patients and not for private profit.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today joined health professionals and community members in Mildura to make the historic announcement, more than two decades after it was privatised by Jeff Kennett’s Liberal National Government.
“Community has spoken, and we’ve listened. After two decades of privatised healthcare, we’re returning Mildura Base Hospital back to public hands, where it belongs.” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Mildura Base Hospital is the only publicly-owned, privately-operated hospital in Victoria after it was taken out of public hands by the Liberal National Coalition in 1998. This contract was then extended by the former Liberal National Government in 2013 despite the strong opposition of the Mildura community.
After detailed community consultation, the Labor Government has listened and done what the Liberal Nationals refused to do and give the community their hospital back. This will see the resumption of public management of the hospital at the conclusion of the long-term contract with the private provider in September next year.
Community has lobbied long and hard for the Mildura Base Hospital to be returned to public hands. A passionate campaign saw more than 90 % of locals who contributed to a community consultation identify their wish for the hospital to be publicly-run.
“Liberal Nationals put their obsession with privatisation ahead of patients when they took Mildura Base Hospital out of the public’s hands. Only Labor Governments invest in public health.” Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said.
While in Mildura, the Labor Government also announced $1 Million towards a new regional service plan to identify the future healthcare needs of the community. The community will have a chance to contribute to the plan via a Community Consultative Committee, which will be chaired by Member for Mildura, Ali Cupper.
Andrews Government will now start work to bring the hospital back into public hands. A local board will be appointed and staff including doctors, nurses, allied health and support staff will transfer across to the new public service.
“Mildura Base Hospital belongs to the Mildura community and now it’s locals who will get to decide its future.” Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp said.
Andrews Government is investing record funding for Mildura Base Hospital nurses and doctors to do what they do best, with $124.07 Million allocated this financial year, a $7.56 Million boost on the previous 12 months, and 41.2 % more than the final year the Liberal Nationals were in power.
Andrews Government has also invested $8.86 Million from its flagship Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for a refurbished ICU, a new paediatric ward and revolutionary theatre equipment.