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Wangaratta’s big hospital funding boost

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Northeast Health Wangaratta has had its bottom-line budget funding increased by 88.9 per cent since the Bracks Government came into office, Health Minister Bronwyn Pike announced today.

Announcing hospital budget increases for 2007/08, Ms Pike said Victorian hospitals continue to enjoy nearly doubled funding since 1999.

Ms Pike said Victoria’s overall hospital budget bottom line has increased by 91 per cent under the Bracks Government, with 15 hospitals and health services receiving more than doubled budgets, including five of the major metropolitan health services – Eastern, Northern, Peninsula, Southern and Western.

She said Victoria’s hospitals will get a combined $5.128 billion in recurrent acute funding – up by $308.9 million on the previous year, an overall increase of 6.4 per cent.

Northeast Health Wangaratta will receive bottom-line budget funding of $54.714 million – up by $2.736 million, or 5.3 per cent, on what it was given last year.

Ms Pike said this year’s funding was a massive $25.745 million more than it was given in 1999/2000.

“The Bracks Government is committed to providing a first class health system, which means investing in our hospitals to ensure all Victorians have access to high-quality healthcare,” Ms Pike said.

“Hospital budgets are now in the black, they continue to be rated as the best in Australia and 58 hospitals have been rebuilt or upgraded as part of our $3.7 billion capital works program, the largest health construction program in Victoria’s history.”

Ms Pike said funding was being directed to hospitals serving the needs of growing populations, such as Northern Health which has received a budget bottom line boost of 139.1 per cent, from $84.08 million in 1999/2000 to $201 million for the 07/08 financial year.

And the Royal Children’s Hospital this year will get $236.97 million – $55.5 million more than the $181.5 million the Royal Children’s and Royal Women’s combined received in 1999, after they were forced into a merger during the Kennett years. The Royal Women’s Hospital has been allocated $119 million.

“The Budget provided a total $1.9 billion boost for health, and this bottom-line funding for our hospitals is a vital part of that boosted commitment,” Ms Pike said.

“The Bracks Government is responding to the growth in demand for hospital services by this extra funding. At the last election, we promised to invest in the services that matter to Victorian families, and today’s announcement shows we are delivering on that commitment.

“This includes $49.5 million this year to expand elective surgery at public hospitals, provide an additional 6000 elective patients with their operations and reduce the time to treatment.

“A further $66.7 million provides for an extra 22,000 emergency and maternity admissions to our hospitals over the next year, and an extra $7 million will enable them to treat another 58,000 patients in the ED.

“The extra funding over the next year will enable hospitals to focus on streamlining services for emergency patients – which the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare in its Australian Hospital Statistics 2005/06 and the Federal Government in its State of our public hospitals both say are already the best-performed in Australia.

Ms Pike said the funding would guide the Bracks Government’s continued expansion and modernisation of Victoria’s hospitals.

“We are turning around our health system by significantly increasing hospital budgets, so that patients get the support and treatment they need, close to home,” she said.

The allocations include an extra $13.3 million to meet and manage growing demand for services including renal dialysis, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and blood services, and $3 million to expand chronic disease management services in country Victoria.

The bottom line operating budgets exclude capital funding and non-recurrent expenditure.

Ms Pike said this year’s Budget provided a further $525 million in capital funding for new and redeveloped health facilities.

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Written by Greg Naylor

4 July 2007 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Health, media release

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