$1 billion has been ripped from Victoria’s struggling health sector following the confirmation of Labor’s State Budget on Tuesday, following on from a $2 billion cut in last year’s budget.
The cuts follow the recent announcement of a 15 per cent reduction in Victoria’s preventative health programs, which includes critical programs to address chronic disease and contributing factors including smoking, vaping, disability inclusion, unhealthy eating, and physical inactivity.
The Nationals Member for Euroa and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Annabelle Cleeland, said the budget cuts were at a time when the health sector across the entire state was at breaking point, with out-of-control surgery waitlists, a failing triple zero system, and staffing shortages.
Ms Cleeland said the Andrews Government’s cuts were reckless given ballooning hospital surgery waitlists and the blow out in demand for beds.
Reporting shows the state-wide Category 1 waitlist has increased by over 45 per cent in just three months. Over the same period, the Category 1 waitlist at Bendigo Hospital increased by 100 individuals, an increase of 147 per cent.
“It’s completely outrageous for Labor to cut programs which prevent Victorians from needing to go to hospital,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The Premier ran his entire 2022 election campaign stating – “you cut services, people suffer”, every Labor MP should be ashamed of this reckless decision to cut preventative health measures.”
Ms Cleeland said she was incredibly concerned about the future impact Labor’s cuts to community health services will have on the region’s in home care programs.
“By the government’s own admission, people living in our region have much poorer health outcomes than other Victorians,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Slashing funding for preventative grassroots health programs is counterproductive and short sighted.
“More services are needed to prevent hospitalisation and improve health and wellbeing of our population, not less – Labor’s decision is false economy.
“It’s unfathomable Daniel Andrews has chosen a cost saving measure that will directly increase pressure on our struggling hospitals.”