Victorian Labor government delivers medical equipment boost for Western Health, while Liberals cut funding

Patients and hospitals in Melton and Moorabool and across Victoria will benefit from the latest cutting edge, lifesaving medical technology thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Melton, Don Nardella MLA today announced that Western Health was one of 20 Victorian hospitals to share in the $35 million Medical Equipment Replacement program.

The program supports hospitals to provide the highest possible patient care by replacing ageing medical items at health services across the state with the latest state-of-the-art-models.

Western Health will receive $M2.848 from the 2015-16 Medical Equipment Replacement program for a Digital Subtraction Angiography – CT unit

Mr Nardella also said:

Western Health will also receive IT funding for Picture Archiving and Communication System (Digital X-Ray) of $500,000 dollars.

Mr Nardella also announced, that for the first time, Victorian hospitals now have access to $10 million in new government funding to replace and upgrade aging and obsolete ICT equipment.

As part of this new funding, 17 high priority projects have been identified, including the above project. A further 88 health care organisations across the state will receive funding to upgrade ageing and obsolete computers, servers, storage systems and essential network equipment.

The Labor Government’s investment in these vital pieces of medical equipment comes as the Federal Liberal Government’s latest cuts to health could see patients being treated for cancer forced to pay thousands of dollars upfront for vital early detection procedures such as MRIs, CT scans and X-rays.

According to the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association[i], as a result of Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to scrap bulk billing incentives for diagnostic and pathology services, patients who were previously bulk billed may now be forced to pay $500 for an MRI, $396 for a CT scan and $1000 for a PET scan.

For those patients that require multiple scans – for example – a patient diagnosed with melanoma, could now face upfront costs of around $1500 and still be left with out of pocket costs of up to $400 even after receiving their Medicare rebates.

These increased costs will see our poorest and sickest patients hit the hardest, and could see many patients forego this important early diagnostic service to avoid being slugged additional fees.

This will lead to more patients being diagnosed later, placing a greater demand on our hospitals and health services and resulting in an increase in waiting times.

These cuts are on top of the Federal Liberal Government’s $17.7 billion cut to Victorian hospitals over the next ten years.

In the Melton electorate Djerriwarrh Health Services will have $M86.57 ripped away over the next ten years whilst Western Health over the same period, will lose $M3,166.868. dollars thanks to Malcolm Turnbull’s callous cuts.

While the Andrews Labor Government is delivering $2.1 billion in extra health funding that will support Victoria’s hospitals to meet increasing demand, expand and improve services and care, and reduce waiting times, Malcolm Turnbull is just continuing the Liberals’ tradition of taking the axe to health.

Mr Nardella said:

“While Malcolm Turnbull is continuing the Liberal trend of cuts and cost-shifting, we’re investing in our hospitals to give them the tools and equipment they need to save lives and provide the very best patient care.”

“Malcolm Turnbull’s latest round of brutal cuts will hurt the sickest and poorest in our community, with patients either forced to pay out of pocket expenses, or forego these important early detection procedures and scans.”

“Instead of taking every opportunity he gets to chip away at our health system, Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop the cuts and cost-shifting and fund his fair share.”