Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1579      January 30, 2013

Call to prevent closure of Urgent Care Centre

The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) Victorian Branch said news of the closure of the Urgent Care Centre at Colac Area Health is more concerning evidence of the lack of leadership shown by the state and federal governments in relation to the state health funding cuts and the callous nature of their political point scoring.

Lisa Fitzpatrick, branch secretary, has again called on Premier Baillieu to show leadership and stop the political point scoring and blame game associated with the Victorian health budget cuts.

“Regardless of who is to blame Victorian hospitals should not be forced to close essential services because the state and federal governments refuse to meet and fix this crisis,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

The past two years has seen $723 million gone from Victoria’s hospital budget, 85 percent or $616 million cut by the Baillieu government and 15 percent or $107 million cut by the Gillard government.

“Forcing the closure of the Urgent Care Centre at Colac Area Health risks the lives of the Colac and surrounding community. If the one ambulance in Colac is already on a transfer, a critically ill person would be expected to wait for an ambulance from Geelong or even Warrnambool – over two hours away. In addition, Colac Area Health has been forced to close six beds permanently, further reducing services and risking the health and welfare of rural and regional Victorians.”

She said that the state government must act urgently. “Premier Baillieu is responsible for Victorian hospitals and has an obligation to the Victorian community to show leadership and fix this funding shortfall.

“Only a small percentage of the $616 million the Baillieu government has would restore full services at Colac Area Health, indeed only about 15 percent of the $616 million cut from health by the Baillieu government would restore services cut throughout the state.

“A compromise must be reached between the federal and state governments. Disappointingly, thus far both levels of government are focused on winning the argument through the media. What Victorians want is a resolution that delivers the health service they are entitled to expect”.  

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