LRH caught in govt crossfire

Latrobe Regional Hospital would lose more than $249 million in funding over 10 years as a result of Federal Government funding cuts to health, the State Government said last week.

It said the Abbott Government had walked away from key components of the National Health Reform Agreement, cutting the Commonwealth’s contributions to Victoria’s public hospitals from 1 July 2017 and removing funding guarantees.

LRH referred The Express to the Victorian Healthcare Association for comment.

VHA acting chief executive Tom Symondson said the cut would put further stress on already financially strained health services and implored the Federal Government to reconsider its changes to the funding formula set out in the NHRA.

“It is disappointing the Federal Government has discarded a funding formula, especially without consultation, which health services rely on for meeting the challenging targets set out under the National Partnership Agreement on Improving Public Hospital Services,” Mr Symondson said.

“Victorian health services perform extremely well on the limited funding they receive to meet highly challenging emergency and elective surgery targets, but these funding cuts will have a devastating impact on their ability to maintain that high level of care.

“This new funding formula can only be seen as an arbitrary measure for making budget savings.”

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said hospital funding under the Abbott Government continued to “go up year on year”.

“Unsustainable health spending will cause Australians more harm than good in the long run,” Ms Ley said.

“These decisions are never easy or popular, but doing nothing is not an option and we are a government taking action.”

Ms Ley said Labor wrecked its own plans for efficiency incentives by telling states their hospital funding would be tied to their level of activity, only for Labor to come over the top with an “overly generous minimum funding guarantee”.