UP to 50 beds will close across Eastern Health — including at the Angliss Hospital in Upper Ferntree Gully — as the state and federal governments argue over budget cuts.
The outcome may mean cuts to elective surgery and nurses’ jobs but it is not known how many jobs could be at stake.
Eastern Health chief executive Alan Lilly said an $8.5 million funding cut in the 2012-13 financial year had hit the service hard.
‘‘The matter is becoming more serious as time progresses without any funding solution,’’ Mr Lilly said. He acknowledged this was a ‘‘challenging period’’ where there were ‘‘no easy decisions’’ to be made. Job redundancies were a possibility.
‘‘Eastern Health will endeavour to redeploy any staff affected by these outcomes elsewhere throughout our health service where their skills and expertise can be utilised,’’ Mr Lilly said.
Australian Nursing Federation Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said budget cuts were straining the hospital system.
‘‘As the frontline health workers caring for patients every day, nurses will be under increasing pressure as Eastern Health makes more cuts to its services and closes more beds.’’
She said that impending employment uncertainty would create significant financial anxiety and stress.
‘‘While the state and federal governments blame each other, the Victorian community will be the innocent victims of their political point scoring. We want both sides to show leadership and negotiate a solution.’’
Ms Fitzpatrick said that between 45-50 beds in acute, sub-acute and mental health programs across Eastern Health would be closed. However, there is no indication yet of when the bed closures will begin. Eastern Health must first present a change impact statement before implementing any major changes.
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