Labor must match Coalition's commitment for public beds
13 February 2015
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan called on the Andrews Labor Government in Parliament this week to address Strathbogie Shire’s urgent need for publically funded hospital beds.
Ms Ryan used her first adjournment debate to highlight the importance of this issue to the new Government and to invite the Minister for Health Jill Hennessy to visit the hospital with her to hear the board and CEO’s plea for public beds.
“There are three hospitals in the Strathbogie Shire, and not one is publically funded,” Ms Ryan said.
“It is the only shire in the state without access to public hospital beds and residents must travel to Shepparton, Benalla or Seymour to access treatment.
“For more than 10,000 residents who live in the shire this is about equity and fairness.”
Ms Ryan said Euroa Health was a privately funded bush nursing hospital which had been providing fantastic health services for local residents for 87 years, however with no public finding for acute care it only had the capacity to treat private patients.
“It is apparent from the trend of declining revenue through private health insurance that services such as Euroa Health will face ongoing financial challenges causing further hardship to many in the community and stretching emergency departments in the region’s hospitals,” Ms Ryan said.
“Placing public beds at Euroa Health is sound policy on many levels and would ease pressure on nearby hospitals, minimise the need for ambulance services and secure the long term future of Euroa’s health services.”
Prior the election last year, Ms Ryan met with Euroa Health’s then CEO Elena McShane and the board’s chair Jim Shovelton to discuss the difficulties facing the hospital.
“I commend them and the entire board and hospital staff for the tremendous work they have put in in driving this issue,” Ms Ryan said.
“I supported their push for public beds and the Coalition Government subsequently committed to creating a $10 million fund for bush nursing hospitals, which would have provided two publically funded acute hospital beds immediately for Euroa Health.”
Ms Ryan said a detailed paper outlining the issues and the hospital’s request was also provided to Labor before the election however the Government had failed to respond.
“Knowing the Premier’s claim that health is his number one priority, I am incredibly disappointed that the Government has been silent on the issue,” Ms Ryan said.