‘Hospital burden should be lifted’

Latrobe Regional Hospital chief executive Peter Craighead said he hoped any savings eventuating from the carbon tax repeal would be passed on to health providers.

The carbon tax added an extra $10,000 to LRH’s monthly electricity bill and about $2500 to gas costs each month.

“I’ve always believed hospitals should have been exempt from the carbon tax burden,” Mr Craighead said.

“Health budgets have been under pressure for many years and we would prefer every available dollar to go towards the care of our patients.”

In August 2012, Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester cited a State Government analysis of the tax which indicated Gippsland hospitals faced a bill equating to $1044 per bed.

Mr Craighead said it was difficult to quantify the tax’s overall impact on LRH’s budget.

He said while the tax impost was clearly stated on electricity and gas bills, it was unclear how much extra had been added to health-related items like medical supplies.

“We would assume suppliers have had to transfer their cost burden to their customers in some way and that may reflect in higher prices for some items,” Mr Craighead said.

“There may have been other economic factors affecting their costs – we don’t really know.

“Time will tell whether any savings will be passed on. I imagine it’s a complex process and I understand the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is monitoring hundreds of companies.”

Mr Craighead said LRH was committed to strong environmental practices and had its own policy to reduce energy use and prevent waste.

The hospital also has a committee to drive sustainability and environmental management.