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Still no certainty for hospitals on public holiday cost burden

Posted 04 April 2015

Friday 3 April 2015

Still no certainty for hospitals on public holiday cost burden

With just two days to go until Easter Sunday health services in country Victoria are still at risk over the Easter period with no guarantees they will be compensated for the extra staffing costs associated with the Victorian Government’s decision to gazette Easter Sunday and Grand Final Friday as additional public holidays.

On average, health service operating costs will rise by 40 to 60 per cent on each of the two holidays, and for some regional health settings this could total as much as $160,000 in additional wages for penalty rates.

Acting Chief Executive of the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) Tom Symondson said, while additional public holidays were all well and good, the government had put the burden to fund them back on health services which are already under considerable budget strain with the rising cost of healthcare, particularly in regional and rural areas.

“Numerous health services have come to me voicing their concerns that if the funding isn’t provided by government they will be forced to redirect funds that should be spent on services,” Mr Symondson said.

“The additional costs to health services across Victoria for Easter Sunday alone could total tens of millions of dollars. The funding for these holidays has to come from somewhere and we remain hopeful the Victorian Government will deliver the additional funding in advance of the Easter long weekend.

“These costs are being felt across the state’s health services today. The last thing we want is for them to be felt by patients seeking care if assurances aren’t given that the government will cover the costs of their own policy.”

The VHA Budget Submission details the financial impact of unfunded public holidays:  

·         A large metropolitan health service with about 700 beds – $600,000 for each holiday 

·         A small rural health service with about 200 beds – $82,000 for each holiday  

·         A small rural health service with 20 beds, community health services and 90 aged care beds –  $42,000 for each holiday  

·         A community health service with 300 staff – $70,000 on a weekday public holiday.

Additional costs will affect all of Victoria's 87 health services and 32 registered community health services. 

Download VHA State Budget Submission 2015-16

 

For more information contact:

Rachel White

Senior Media Adviser

rachel.white@vha.org.au

0438 815 561

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