Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, has called on the Andrews Labor Government to publically back the future of the West Gippsland Hospital.
Mr Blackwood said that the Andrews Governments ‘comprehensive study’ announced at the 2014 State Election had all the hall marks of a plan to reduce services locally forcing patients to other major hospitals an hour away.
A response from Minister for Health, Hon. Jill Hennessy MP, to a question in the Legislative Council by Mary Wooldridge stated that the West Gippsland Hospital would be weighed against Monash Health in Berwick and the Latrobe Regional Hospital to determine what investment would be made locally.
‘When this plan was announced I voiced concerns about Labor using the study to divert patients away from the West Gippsland Hospital to avoid making significant investments to secure the future of the service in Warragul,’ Mr Blackwood said.
‘Labor is positioning itself to undermine our local hospital in favour of neighbouring health providers who have already received funding to expand the services they provide.’
Mr Blackwood said that West Gippsland had been targeted as a growth area of the state and not providing funding to the West Gippsland Hospital to help grow and diversify services would be detrimental to health outcomes in the region.
‘West Gippsland is set to grow in population rapidly in coming decades with Drouin and Warragul the focus of that growth with major rezoning already completed,’ said Mr Blackwood.
‘Without a substantive investment in the West Gippsland Hospital demand will quickly outpace delivery and the local communities will suffer as a result.
‘The Andrews Labor Government needs to publically state that they support the long term future of the West Gippsland Hospital and will not undermine its services in favour of other regional health services in Berwick or Traralgon.
‘A statement by the Minister that the review will be completed in 2016 is not good enough and the community has the right to know today that this review will not be used to reduce or close local services delivered at Warragul Hospital,’ Mr Blackwood said.
Upper House Response from the Minister for Health regarding study into future of West Gippsland Hospital