Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, says local hospitals in regional Victoria are in the frame for an Andrews Labor government plan to amalgamate health delivery services under a ‘formal partnership approach’.
And Mr Walsh said he is calling on Victorians to add their voice to a new campaign standing against the statewide amalgamation plan.
Launched this week, the ‘Hands Off Our Hospitals’ petition comes in response to a growing government push to amalgamate services; with hospitals across regional Victoria from Mildura to Bairnsdale also targeted.
Mr Walsh said the plan will see health services at Geelong, Ballarat, Traralgon, Albury Wodonga, Shepparton and Bendigo appointed as lead organisations above smaller hospitals in what Labor’s trying to sell as ‘regional area health partnerships’.
But he said far from being an equal partnership, health services already fear it is designed to simplify the process of sweeping amalgamations in the future.
“To stop the plan, the Victorian Liberal Nationals have launched the ‘Hands Off Our Hospitals’ campaign, to give Victorians who do not want to see amalgamations go ahead a voice,” Mr Walsh said.
“Together we can send a clear message to the Andrews Labor government that communities do not want Daniel Andrews to take the ‘local’ out of local hospitals; by creating mega-hospitals controlled by inner-city bureaucrats.
“Sign the petition at: www.handsoffourhospitals.com.au and help us send the message that this must stop.
“Far from delivering better services, hospital mergers mean longer waiting lists, loss of local control, increased travel to get the treatment you deserve and local job losses,” he said.
“Some towns, which are located hours from the next nearest health service, it couldn’t be more important to have a standalone local service focused on delivering quality care to its community.”
Mr Walsh said the Andrews Labor government must address the funding model for public hospitals and inject the capital needed to give staff and patients the quality services they need and deserve.
“For example, the Echuca community was a massive financial contributor in the construction and outfitting of the new Echuca Regional Health and apart from this amalgamation strategy threatening the delivery of local health services; it would be an insult to the people of the town and surrounds, who contributed millions to the project,” he added.
“And in Swan Hill, after years of campaigning, they are just about to get a $48 million upgrade and that needs to remain under the control of locals, not some unseen bureaucrats in a Bendigo or Melbourne office.
“The Health Minister must face Victorians and come clean on what Labor’s secret plan to amalgamate our health services will mean for us.
“We don’t want to lose the ‘local’ from our local hospitals and health services.”