Hospital faces $2.7M deficit

Bendigo West MP, Maree Edwards, has called on Health Minister, David Davis, to help Castlemaine Health avert a “growing financial crisis” after it was revealed the hospital will record a $2.7 million deficit.
Nanjing Night Net

The Castlemaine Health Annual Report for 2012-13 will be presented to the community at the hospital’s Annual General Meeting tomorrow, November 13, at the Castlemaine Uniting Church Hall from 7.30pm.

Ms Edwards said the government had once again bungled a major infrastructure project.

“It is clear that the government’s poor planning and modelling of the $10 million hospital redevelopment was the major reason for Castlemaine Health having a $2.7 million deficit.

“I will be raising this very concerning matter with the Minister for Health at the earliest opportunity in Parliament next week,” Ms Edwards said.

A government spokeswoman said the government was investing in the future of the Castlemaine Hospital and in its historic rebuild.

“In fact, the government has invested more in the Castlemaine hospital than Labor did over 11 years, increasing funding by more than $1.2 million since coming to government,” the spokeswoman said.

“The $10 million redevelopment of Castlemaine hospital includes the relocation and refurbishment of the accident and emergency department. It also features a second emergency theatre to be used as a procedure room, a modern day surgery ward and recovery area and an improved front entrance.

“The Health Department has advised it is working with Castlemaine hospital throughout the redevelopment and is supporting the hospital in improving its financial position,” she said.

At Wednesday’s meeting an update on the progress of the building redevelopment will be provided.

Castlemaine Health CEO, Ian Fisher, says the AGM will be an opportunity for the board and executive to highlight the excellent quality of services and high level of patient satisfaction Castlemaine Health is achieving.

Despite some delays to the redevelopment works, Mr Fisher said the completion of the project was expected to be only two or three weeks late.

The operating theatres will be finished in February 2014 and start receiving patients in March 2014. The upgrade of the Urgent Care and Acute Ward areas will be completed mid-April 2014.

Mr Fisher said the closure of the theatres for the building redevelopment had led to financial challenges for Castlemaine Health.

“Contracted arrangements to conduct elective surgery at Bendigo and Kyneton hospitals were successful but have had a significant adverse financial impact. Along with lower than expected occupancy and revenue in aged residential facilities, a $2.7 million deficit resulted for the year.

“The current 2013-14 financial year will also be impacted by theatre closures into next year,” he said.

Castlemaine Health board president, Carolyn Wallace, said the Board of Management had been working closely with the Health Department to ensure that Castlemaine Health remained viable and sustainable. “We want to be sure that services in the future are appropriate and relevant to all members of our community,” Ms Wallace said.

The Health Department has advised it is working with Castlemaine hospital throughout its redevelopment and is supporting the hospital in improving its financial position.

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