$4 billion health boost focus of Budget
Victorian patients are set to be the biggest winners from the 2010 State Budget with a record $4 billion boost to build on the historic health investment and reform agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments.
Minister for Health Daniel Andrews said the record health outlay would deliver new hospitals, more health staff, new hospital beds, more treatments and expanded ambulance services—changes Victorian patients would experience immediately.
Under the Budget health investment, an extra 9,000 Victorian patients requiring elective surgery will receive their operations sooner, the number of outpatient treatments will increase by 32,000, with capacity to treat an extra 50,000 patients in emergency departments.
A new $473 million Bendigo Hospital was the centrepiece the $2.3 billion Budget hospital and health service building program.
‘Our massive investment in building better hospitals is complemented by delivering a $1.7 billion boost to health services,’ Mr Andrews said.
A $6.5 million investment will maintain a professional ambulance service in Kinglake and upgrade services at the Whittlesea branch—additional resources committed after the 2009 bushfires.
‘The Kinglake community will continue to receive a two officer paramedic Peak Period Unit running a 10-hour shift seven days a week, while the Whittlesea service will continue providing 24-hour services to Whittlesea and cover the out-of-hours roster for Kinglake and surrounding areas,’ Mr Andrews said.
The Government is investing $19.9 million over four years to provide 12,000 extra public dental visits and open new training clinics at Melton and Mildura.
Up to 72,000 parents of new babies will receive whooping cough vaccinations under a $3.2 million investment over two years and the Government is investing $10.2 million over four years to provide 11,000 hours of diabetes self-management and an additional 292,000 needles and syringes free to 67,000 Victorians with diabetes.
Mr Andrews said the Budget’s $4 billion health boost incorporated the historic COAG Health Agreement, which would cut emergency department waiting times at Victorian hospitals and allow patients to receive their elective surgery sooner.
‘Under the COAG health reforms, the Premier, John Brumby, secured for Victoria an additional $935 million investment in health and hospitals from the Commonwealth, as well as retaining control of the management of our hospitals, regarded as the most efficient in Australia.
‘The Government secured a record investment from the Commonwealth, meaning 150,000 patients who currently wait too long in emergency departments each year will now be treated more quickly.
‘Additionally, almost 34,000 additional patients will receive their elective surgery faster over the next four years, meaning more people will get their operations and have them done sooner.
‘The Premier also secured funding for 332 extra sub-acute beds, meaning 5,000 extra patients will be treated every year once additional beds come on line.’