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Hospital jobs raise questions about Barwon staffing

The Victorian Government’s immediate appointment of staff from the disappointing closure of the Geelong Private Hospital has raised questions about the legitimacy of those jobs.

Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, said Labor has promised the 117 nurses, allied health workers, administration staff and patient services assistants jobs at Barwon Health.

“This raises questions about the staffing levels at Barwon Health,” Mr Ramsay said.

“Are these additional to the needs of the hospital, or do they indicate a very severe under-staffing at Barwon Health that these jobs can be absorbed without question?  How does that work?

“Even with natural attrition rates at a major hospital, this is a big number to take on in one hit.

“It either exposes enormous shortfalls at Barwon or indicates that this Government is happy to add 117 additional wages to it’s Public Service costs that have increased by 40 per cent under this Government.”

Mr Ramsay has questioned who will foot the $9 million wages bill for the intake.

“Does Barwon Health pay for this, or will the state have to pump more money in?

“This Government will go down in history for its budget blowouts, will this contribute to more?”

He has also questioned the $10 million for a feasibility study to determine the future use of the Geelong Private site as a Women’s and Children’s hospital.

“If the Government is already defining the hospital’s future, why spend $10 million of taxpayer’s money for a feasibility study?

“It smacks of the same money and time wasting of other studies the Government is paying for.

“Take for example the $50 million it has put in the budget to investigate fast rail between Geelong and Melbourne.  This has been promised before and everyone knows it’s needed.

“Stop the studies – the waste – the delays – and just get on with it,” Mr Ramsay said.

Mr Ramsay has stood by the Coalition decision not to build a second public hospital at Geelong, and instead fund a public health floor at the Epworth Hospital development at Waurn Ponds.

“With that health development already to the south, the Coalition was very proud to recognise the health needs of those to Geelong’s north and invested $33 million into the new Barwon Health North facility.

“Sadly, four years on, a single sod has not been turned on the project.

“It sounds to me that Labor isn’t supportive of the needs of the north. Any wonder they have struggled to get this project happening despite it being projected as a world class preventative health precinct.”