Evidence suggests that healthcare is the number one priority for Victorians yet figures show that the government has neglected the sector again.

There is genuine need for a new hospital in Melbourne’s western growth corridor, emergency services require upgrading, and preventative healthcare is seriously in need of budgetary assistance. Yet hospitals are to receive only a 4.5% increase in their funding on last year’s budget—health expenditure is expected to increase at a similar rate in the coming financial year. Hospitals and the primary healthcare sector will thus continue to struggle on with limited resources and an underpaid workforce.

By contrast, the state’s infrastructure program, already bloated with $72 billion worth of projects on the books, was given a further boost of some $27 billion in Tuesday’s budget announcement.

“Napthine has again neglected healthcare in favour of the big ticket items. This is a disgrace. The kind of politicking we are seeing in the lead up to the November elections will see crucial and mundane issues like healthcare make way for bombastic infrastructure projects,” noted Branch Secretary Craig McGregor.

The operational surplus for the 2013-14 financial year was $0.9 billion and is predicted to grow significantly to $1.3 billion and $3.0 billion in the following 2 financial years.

“Community health is in dire need of support; the money is there. What is lacking is political will.”

“The problems we are seeing in attraction and retention and certainly with rates of pay and with healthcare outcomes are not going to go away until this government, the Napthine government, moves to fix things,” concluded McGregor.

The VHPA urges the Napthine government to take significant steps to bolster the delivery of healthcare, with a focus on preventative or primary healthcare, across the state.