Labor Government Delivers $35 Million Equipment Boost For Victorian Hospitals, While Liberals Cut

Twenty hospitals across Victoria will share in $35 million worth of funding to replace ageing lifesaving medical equipment with the latest state-of-the art models, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Visiting the Alfred Hospital today, Acting Premier James Merlino joined Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, to announce the recipients of the latest round of the Medical Equipment Replacement program, which supports hospitals to continue to deliver the highest possible patient care by replacing ageing medical items with the latest cutting edge technology.

Alfred Health is receiving a MRI Unit, replacement CT unit, two echocardiography units with 3D imaging, and an angiographic-fluoroscopy unit, while other hospitals will receive replacement items including:

  • High value equipment such as CT scanners, digital x-ray rooms, gamma cameras and angiography units
  • Smaller medical items such as fully ergonomic electronic beds and patient chairs, defibrillators, imaging units, infant incubators, patient monitors, scopes and sterilisers

The Government 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, with 88 health services across the state benefitting from the latest round of funding.

The Labor Government’s investment in these vital, lifesaving pieces of medical equipment comes as the Federal Liberal Government’s latest cuts to health could see Victorian 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.

Not only did Malcolm Turnbull fail to reverse Tony Abbott’s savage cuts that will see Victoria’s hospitals lose $17.7 billion, his pre-Christmas decision to rip $650 million from Medicare bulk billing for diagnostic and pathology services will see many providers forced to charge patients that were previously bulk billed.

According to the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association, 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.

While the 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.

Quotes attributable to Acting Premier James Merlino

“While Malcolm Turnbull is continuing to cut and cost-shift, we’re supporting our hospitals to deliver safer care, more accurate diagnoses and better health outcomes for patients.”

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

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“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.”

“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.”

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