WHILE the stoush about health funding between the State and Federal governments rages on, Swan Hill’s hospital chief has expressed concern that hope for a political solution may be all but lost.
Swan Hill Rural City Councillors this week rallied in support of Swan Hill District Health and an expected $378,000 cut in funding.
“We should be standing side by side with the hospital to recoup that funding. The hospital delivers fantastic services for our community,” Cr Gary Norton said at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“There’s a fair bit of political grandstanding going on…but what we need to get is some sense, and make sure the best service to our community is delivered,” Cr Greg Cruickshank said at the meeting.
The dispute between the State and Federal governments centres around an agreement of funding based on population growth, with both governments accusing each other of short changing Victoria’s health system.
Swan Hill District Health chief executive officer Ted Rayment said that, despite who was in the wrong, an unannounced reduction halfway through the financial year, after agreements on performance were signed off, was “unprecedented”.
“I have never seen anything like this in the decades I have worked in health around the country,” Mr Rayment said.
On behalf of the hospital board chair, Mr Rayment joined other hospital representatives from around Victoria on Wednesday in Melbourne to talk about the budget impacts with Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek.
Each of the chairs passed on their concerns about the cuts, which included extended elective surgery waiting lists and a limited ability to recruit staff and graduates.
For more on this story, see Monday’s edition ofThe Guardian (17.12.12).
LOSING HOPE: Swan Hill District Health CEO Ted Rayment.
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