Victoria Minister for Health David Davis
Victoria Moves To Cover Canberra’s Elective Surgery Cuts
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government has rolled out an elective surgery initiative in a bid to stem some of the pain being caused by Federal Government health funding cuts, Health Minister David Davis said today.
The Competitive Elective Surgery Funding Initiative provides a $44 Million pool of funding which enables hospitals to make contestable bids to boost the number of public patients receiving elective surgery, particularly during the quieter months.
The first $35 Million has now been allocated to public hospitals across the State to provide around 8,300 operations, at a bid price, which is about 5 % cheaper than standard surgery costs.
Mr. Davis today announced the final $9 Million, which will be shared between 10 public and private hospitals and surgery centres which have partnered with the public hospitals. It will deliver a further 2,100 operations.
Mr. Davis said the initiative was announced in the State Budget in May 2012 to help Victoria counter what was then a $50 Million withdrawal of Federal funding for elective surgery.
“Victoria was very concerned earlier this year over the $50 million withdrawal of funding through the discontinuation of the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Hospital Services.” Mr. Davis said.
“But that Canberra cut has turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg, with the Federal Government now pulling a further $107 Million out of Victoria’s hospitals over the next six months.”
“We were concerned the National Partnership Agreement cut would create a shortfall of 7,200 elective surgeries in Victoria alone.”
“This latest round of Federal funding cuts is estimated to mean a further 21,400 fewer elective surgery operations in Victoria.” Mr. Davis said.
“That’s almost 29,000 Victorians that will have to wait extended times for their elective surgery as a result of Federal health funding cuts.”
“Victoria signed up to be part of national health reforms on the basis that there would be a transparent and co-operative sharing of health costs to benefit patients, particularly as hospital demand grew.”
“However, what we have experienced since then is national stealth not national health and Victoria’s hospital patients are losing out every step of the way.” Mr. Davis said.
“Victoria is doing its bit with the rollout of this latest initiative, but we can’t possibly plug all the leaks that Canberra is making to drain money out of the health funding pool.”
Mr. Davis called on Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to show some concern for Victorian patients and restore the funding.