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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Less funding than expected for Benalla Hospital

Benalla and District Memorial Hospital is estimated to have missed out on $300 000 in funding, according to Member for Northern Victoria Kaye Darveniza.

RANDALL JOHNSTON AND ANGELA TOWNSEND January 16, 2013 4:00am

However, Benalla and District Memorial Hospital chief executive Andrew Freeman said although the revised budget figures would have an impact, these would not affect the core services provided.

‘‘As much as any reduction in funding has an impact, we have not and will not cut any services, or reduce the number of (or close) beds.

‘‘We will continue to perform surgical procedures.’’

He said the key would be to try to find ways to become more efficient, in ways that would not affect frontline health services in Benalla.

‘‘We will contimue to look at internal efficiencies, without reducing our critical services.’’

He said above all he wanted to be clear that no existing programs or services would be cut in response to these projected funding alterations.

‘‘We want to assure the public that the services we have delivered in the past will continue into the future.’’

Ms Darveniza has said Victorian Labor figures revealed the true extent of the damage caused by the Baillieu Government’s budget cuts in health, with regional and rural hospitals missing out on millions of dollars.

She said the figures broke down the $616 million worth of cuts made in the first two Baillieu state budgets, showing that Benalla and District Memorial Hospital was estimated to have missed out on $300,000 in funding from this Liberal-National Victorian Government.

Ms Darveniza said Victoria’s health system was already under huge pressure as a result of the Victorian Government’s cuts.

‘‘I have already heard stories of local families struggling to access the care they need in the greater Benalla area,’’ she said.

‘‘More people in life-threatening situations are waiting longer for an ambulance; those ambulances are waiting longer outside hospitals for beds to become free, while more than 8000 people have been added to the state’s elective surgery waiting list.’’

Meanwhile, Australian Medical Association vice-president Dr Tony Bartone said this latest change to the budget was likely to have an impact throughout Victoria.

‘‘When funding cuts lead to job losses in front-line staff including doctors and nurses, the waiting lists will get longer,’’ Dr Bartone said.

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