The letter from the local Labor M.P. for Macedon asserted that the Daylesford Hospital hasn’t been ignored by the Andrews Labor Government (11/11). This was in response to a letter from David Reilly, a highly regarded community member, lamenting the fact that, in the significant funding recently announced for hospitals by the Andrews Labor Government including in surrounding areas as pre-election pledges, the Daylesford Hospital Upgrade Appeal has been totally left out. This is despite the significant infrastructure needs of the health service area, the limited ability of the Daylesford and surrounding communities to access fit for purpose, modern health services locally and a successful grassroots community campaign that was hard to ignore.
I was proud to support the recent community campaign that raised $100K to fund an excellent Master Plan. Delivered by Central Highlands Rural Health (CHRH), the Plan sets out the blueprint for the health service’s future which will meet the rapidly growing health needs of our area. The blueprint plans include the total health service consisting of aged care, community health, district nursing, acute wards and dialysis.
The Labor member, our Minister for Health, points to sums of money as evidence of ‘record investment’ enjoyed by the hospital and community over Labor’s 16 years in power. By any objective assessment the invested sums across that period are minimal:
- $4.5M last October for theatre upgrade works yet to commence,
- $1.3M for basic low level engineering maintenance and upgrades, and
- $4.4M to CHRH in October this year, with $3.8M on public record to complete Creswick Aged Care. That leaves by my maths, loose change of ~$600K between the Daylesford and Kyneton campus for unspecified works.
Labor has been governing for 16 of the last 20 years since the last significant hospital upgrade in the early 2000s which I, and others, fought for.
$6.1M for capital, not recurrent, funds is a gross underinvestment that ultimately must be met because the infrastructure will only get worse. And this does not match the $75M pledge the Liberal Party made, if elected, to fully fund the Master Plan over ten years.
The Daylesford Hospital can’t survive on the kindness of philanthropic donations from community members, or the generosity of the Community Bank. Our public hospital can’t limp along as a charity, despite the efforts of our excellent workforce. The physical conditions of the buildings are deteriorating. I understand that with the recent rains the bathroom roof of an aged care resident collapsed.
Our 160 year old health service and our rural communities need a Government prepared to fully invest in the health and prosperity of its people. We deserve no less.