Nepean Hospital $5M worse off under cuts: Labor

Patients at Nepean Hospital will face longer waiting times in emergency and for elective surgery under federal government hospital funding plans, according to the federal Opposition.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek was in Penrith on April 11, claiming the Turnbull government planned a $5.7 million cut to Nepean Hospital over the next three years under changes to hospital funding.

The deal would see the Commonwealth fund 45 per cent of health costs with funding growth of 6.5 per cent, she said.

“State governments are either going to have to fork out a lot more money themselves, and we know the NSW government isn’t doing that, or they will have to cut services and that’s what the people who rely on Nepean Hospital and hospitals like it all over the country are facing,” Ms Plibersek said.

Macquarie MP Susan Templeman said this was a cut of $840,000 at Hawkesbury hospital funding over the next three years.

“Every time there is a cut that hurts not just the patients, but the doctors, the nurses and the staff in that hospital and we need to make sure they’re protected,” Ms Templeman said.

But Health Minister Greg Hunt rejected Labor’s claims.

“The Turnbull government is delivering record hospital funding to the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District  in each and every year which is providing more doctors, more nurses and importantly more services for patients,” he said.

“The Turnbull government’s new five-year funding agreement will deliver $128 billion in Commonwealth hospital funding, including $30 billion in additional funding – delivering millions of new and extra hospital services to patients right around Australia. 

“We welcome NSW signing on to our agreement, which will deliver an additional $9 billion for public hospitals across the state.

“The assertion that there are funding cuts to the Nepean Hospital or more broadly across NSW hospitals is a fallacy.”

The Liberal state government has committed $576 million to the first stage of the Nepean Hospital redevelopment now under construction, with a further $450 million announced in March for stage two.

While welcoming the state government investment, Ms Plibersek said it did not make up for the federal government shortfall.

“There is no point having a brand-spanking new building if you’re not prepared to pay the salary of the nurses, the doctors, the allied health professionals, the cleaners, the people who are delivering the meals on the wards. If you’re not prepared to pay the salaries of those people with ongoing funding, then all the new buildings in the world won’t deliver the services that people so desperately need,” she said.

“I don’t think you can claim that extra infrastructure funding from the state government makes up for the shortfall from the federal government.”