The ANMF (Vic Branch) welcomes the Victorian State Government’s 2015/2016 State Budget and sees it as a win for the state’s hard working nurses and midwives.
Premier Daniel Andrews’ Government’s budget focuses on delivering and restoring essential health services and improving and expanding public hospital infrastructure.
The $2.1 billion healthcare budget will provide for 60,000 extra hospital admissions and 40,000 more emergency department patients to be treated this year.
In its first year, the government has made a commitment to spending more than $350 million on acute health services, including $60 million for much needed elective surgeries and $250 million to increase health services capacity to treat patients.
This is in direct contrast to the previous Liberal state governments, who slashed more than a billion dollars from the state’s health coffers.
The ANMF (Vic Branch) is particularly impressed with the transparency around the $200 million Hospital Bed Rescue Fund, which outlines exactly how many beds, or points of care, will be opened this year, with ongoing funding into the future, as well as estimations of the number of patients to be treated annually as a direct result of the funding.
A key platform of the health budget was the $560 million investment in public health infrastructure. This will see the development of the new Western Women’s & Children Hospital and expansions to the Casey and Werribee Mercy Hospitals. among many others.
The Branch was also pleased to see $20 million allocated in the next four years for the prevention of health workplace violence to make public hospitals safer for staff and patients. The Branch has long advocated for safer workplaces, something that can be seen in our government endorsed 10-point plan to end violence.
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said it was an impressive first state budget for the government.
‘This is not a budget based only on bricks and mortar, it is a budget that bolsters that state’s health system with essential services funding,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.
‘The delivery of funds to growth areas, including Casey, Werribee and Sunshine, will ensure patients have access to quality public healthcare on their doorsteps.
‘The transparency around the hospital bed funding will hold both the government and hospital boards to account, something the previous state government, which promised 800 new beds, failed to deliver on.
‘The government estimates that the $200 million Hospital Bed Rescue Fund will provide for 20,000 more patients to be treated each year, as well as increasing hospitals’ capacity to deliver the first class healthcare Victorians deserve.
‘The funding of new beds brings into focus the need for minimum nurse to patient ratios, which will ensure nurses and midwives are able to provide the highest standard of healthcare.’
Further to the services funding, the Branch was pleased with provisions for the Ice Action Taskforce, mental health funding and the restoration of funding for the whooping cough vaccine.