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Victoria looking to rebuild health system

18 May, 2006

The Bracks Government wants every Victorian to have access to world-class health care when and where they need it.

Since 1999, Victoria has embarked on the largest health capital works program in Victoria’s history by investing $2.4 billion to rebuild our health system.

The Bracks Government has rebuilt or is rebuilding 50 public hospitals and health services – almost half of the total number of public hospitals across Victoria, including:

- Opening Melbourne’s first brand new suburban public hospital in over 20 years in Berwick.
- Opening the new Royal Dental Hospital in Melbourne.
- Saving the Austin from privatisation, and rebuilding the Austin and the Mercy in Heidelberg, making it the largest medical precinct in Victoria.
- Rebuilding country hospitals in Kyneton, Stawell, Ararat, Geelong and Ballarat;
Rebuilding suburban hospitals at Maroondah, Angliss, Northern, Sunshine and Dandenong.
- Commencing construction on the new Royal Women’s Hospital.
- Building a brand new $850 million Royal Children’s Hospital just west of the existing site in Parkville, to be completed in 2011.
- Victoria’s hospitals are leading all other states on key indicators including emergency department waiting times and time to treatment for elective surgery, according to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2006.

Over the last six years, the Bracks Government has increased funding to hospitals by 71 per cent, admitting over 1.2 million patients last year – almost a quarter of a million more since 1999. The Government has employed more than 6,000 extra nurses and 1,200 extra doctors.

It is building Super Clinics at Melton, Lilydale and Craigieburn, the Alfred Elective Surgery Centre and the new Health Care Centre in Knox. Radiotherapy centres are being built at Geelong, Latrobe Valley and Moorabbin and emergency departments are being rebuilt at Geelong, Bairnsdale, Shepparton, Monash, Williamstown and Werribee.

Mental health funding has been boosted by 62 per cent, or $279 million, with new mental health beds planned for Maroondah, Box Hill, the Austin, the Alfred and the Latrobe Valley.

Victorian ambulance services have also been boosted, with funding to ambulance services increased by 112 per cent, or $110 million, since 1999. This funding boost has provided for more than 650 extra paramedics, more than 50 extra ambulances and 61 new or upgraded ambulance stations.

Victoria has purchased more than $400 million of state of the art medical equipment such as CT scanners, radiotherapy machines and vital monitoring equipment.

Public health campaigns have seen increased rates of childhood immunisation and declining rates of smoking – last year the overall smoking rate was the lowest ever recorded in Victoria at 17 per cent.

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