A Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition Government will invest $5 million in capital works to significantly expand capacity and increase services at Mildura Base Hospital, Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.
“Mildura’s hospital infrastructure has become inadequate to service the region’s growing population and simply doesn’t have the capacity to deal with increased patient demand,” Mr Ryan said.
“Many evenings at Mildura Hospital the waiting rooms are congested, and patients needing treatment are forced to endure unacceptable waiting times.
“The Federal Government recently agreed only to fund four new beds in the Accident and Emergency Department, but neither John Brumby nor Julia Gillard has revealed any intention to upgrade the midwifery or mental health units.
“Mildura Hospital currently has 14 beds in its emergency department, which is well short of its required 33 beds based on the one bed per 1000 patient admissions per year rule.”
Mr Ryan said the funding injection would secure urgent upgrades to Mildura Base Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department (A & E), the maternity unit and the mental health unit.
“Under the capital works program, the A & E department will be expanded to include a short stay unit, additional storage, office accommodation and waiting areas,” Mr Ryan said.
“The short stay unit will help accommodate patients currently forced to wait in emergency cubicles more than 24 hours until a bed becomes vacant.”
Mr Ryan said there were also plans for an additional birthing suite in the maternity unit, along with improved lounge and waiting facilities to accommodate patients in early labour.
“The mental health unit is stretched to the limit in the provision of outpatient and inpatient services and the Coalition will fund appropriate office, training, education and administrative space to ensure the department can function appropriately with increased demand,” Mr Ryan said.
Local Member for Mildura Peter Crisp said the Brumby Government had known for years about problems with over-crowding and under-resourcing at Mildura Hospital, including from its own Mildura ALP branch, but it consistently refused to allocate capital funding.
“The Coalition is committed to funding much-needed upgrades at Mildura Hospital which is something the Brumby Government hasn’t been willing or prepared to do,” Mr Crisp said.