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Public holidays to impact on health services
Posted 12 March 2015
Public hospitals and community health services may be forced to cut services to cover the cost of new public holidays if the State Government fails to help, the Victorian Healthcare Association has warned.
The Easter Sunday and Grand Final Friday public holidays combined will cost one Melbourne metropolitan hospital $1.2 million in additional wages this year.
The VHA has called on the Andrews Government to provide additional funding to cover the wages bill of the two new public holidays.
In its State Budget Submission, the VHA said hospital and community health service operating costs would rise by 40 to 60 per cent on each of the two new public holidays.
This would be largely due to penalty rates for staff at work and a day's pay for those not at work.
VHA acting chief executive Tom Symondson said the Government needed to cover the costs of the new public holidays.
"Without additional funding, hospitals and community health services will have little option other than to redirect funds away from services," Mr Symondson said.
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.
"Many Victorians will welcome the opportunity to spend more time with their family, or the additional pay that working on a public holiday will bring," Mr Symondson said.
"However, this will have a real impact on hospital and community health service budgets if the Government does not provide the additional funding that is required as a result of its own decisions.
"Easter Sunday is less than a month away. Hospitals and community health services need the certainty of additional funding without delay so the services they provide to the community continue uninterrupted."
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