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Fund boost welcomed but there must be more: VHA

Posted 09 April 2018

The funding injection to the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund by the Victorian Government is a welcome boost for Victoria’s regional and rural hospitals, but additional clarity about the long-term future of the fund is needed, Victorian Healthcare Association CEO Tom Symondson said today.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jill Hennessy have announced a $50 million increase to the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund, as part of the 2018-19 Victorian Budget.

“The $50 million increase to the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund is great news and will make a real difference to rural and regional communities, ensuring they receive better care and in safe, modern facilities. While the VHA welcomes this boost to the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund, we expect to see a clear commitment to investing in health infrastructure as a priority from the government and the opposition, leading into the November election, to meet the needs of our rural and regional public health services and the communities they serve.

“Despite the fund being a resounding success, the bulk of the initial $200 million was allocated in less than two years instead of the intended four years, highlighting the overwhelming demand for capital investment and upgrades in rural Victorian hospitals”, said Mr Symondson.

Earlier this year, the VHA presented a 2018-19 Pre-Budget Submission to the Victorian Government asking that available funding within the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund be doubled for the coming four-year period to $400 million with the intent of the fund to be ongoing.

The VHA also recommended that the funding for the Medical Equipment Replacement Program for the coming four-year period be doubled and the threshold of the medical equipment replacement program be lowered to $50,000.

Access the VHA 2018-19 Pre-Budget Submission here.

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