darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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December 4, 2008

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has called on the Prime Minister to honor his promise to fix the nation’s hospitals.

Mr Chester told Federal Parliament this week that various state Labor administrations had failed miserably to deliver promised health services and it was time for the Federal Government to intervene.

“The latest Your Hospitals report has confirmed everything that the community has been saying for the past three or four years,” Mr Chester said.

“The report found that one in three Latrobe Regional Hospital patients were forced to wait over eight hours for a bed after being admitted to the emergency department.  It also found that the waiting list soared from 812 to 1,590 in just 12 months.

“I am not blaming the staff for a second. They are doing a magnificent job in extremely difficult circumstances, but earlier this year Latrobe Regional Hospital ran out of money completely and cancelled all elective surgery before the end of the financial year.

“They simply told people to come back in a couple of months.  We haven’t got the funding to fix your knee, your shoulder, or whatever it might be.

“People were being left in pain because of an economic timeframe that was set by the state Labor government, and it was all back to business at the start of the next financial year.”

“I do stress that the men and women at the coalface are not the ones to blame in this mess. They are caught up in the state Labor administrations and their failure to properly administer our health systems.”

Mr Chester called on the Prime Minister to intervene – repeating comments made by Kevin Rudd just one year ago during the Federal election campaign:

Kevin Rudd said: I have a long term plan to fix the nation’s hospitals. I will be responsible for implementing my plan and I state this with absolute clarity: the buck will stop with me.

Mr Chester said the people of Australia are worse off today that they were 12 months ago “and I fear the worst is yet to come,” he said.

“The health and wellbeing of regional Australians will be affected as this government fails to keep its promises to invest in the promised health infrastructure and service delivery throughout regional areas.”

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