Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — Recently I had the privilege to welcome the Victorian Minister for Health to the Sandringham Hospital, alongside Clare O’Neil, the federal member for Hotham, and the state member for Bentleigh. Sandringham Hospital is an important hospital in our local community, particularly its emergency department, which services 33 000 residents each and every year out of a total number of patients going through the hospital of 41 000. Amazingly it supports the birth of around 1600 babies each year, and for me, nine weeks away from my own little one being born, I was very clucky at Sandringham Hospital during the visit.
But there was an important thing that we were there to discuss, and that was some of the federal cuts to health that are affecting our hospital and emergency services. We were there to talk about the state Labor government’s investment in elective surgery and its overall investment in public health, while at the same time we see from the Prime Minister and the federal Minister for Health, Susan Ley, a cut in funding to health services. This is a vital hospital in our local community catering for over 30 per cent of City of Kingston residents, yet the federal government is trying to take $173 million away for the previous financial year — money that has already been spent. According to my calendar there are about 20 days to go, and the hospital is still trying to claw back money from this financial year. We will stand up for Sandringham Hospital.