BALLARAT patients waiting for elective hip, knee and eye operations may soon be expedited through the system thanks to the largest-ever one-off investment in Australia to tackle wait lists.
The Victorian state government announced on Sunday it would inject $335 million over the next four years for additional elective surgery and an immediate $20 million capital works boost.
While the exact amount Ballarat Health Services will receive has not yet been confirmed, the state government has promised the end result will be faster processing of patients on elective surgery wait lists.
In addition, Ballarat Base Hospital emergency department will benefit with extra dollars to help it reach its KPIs.
The announcement has been welcome news to Ballarat Base Hospital, which in February was advised of a $1.85 million federal government budget cut.
BHS Acting Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kinnersly said the funding was welcome news and would result in faster service provision to patients awaiting elective hip, knee, eye and general surgery.
“We obviously welcome any additional funding. We have had our challenges over the last 18 months in regards to elective surgery waiting lists so any growth in elective surgery funding is welcomed,” he said.
“It will certainly mean that we can increase activity, which will work really well for BHS and our patients, and when additional beds come online with the Drummond Street building being completed later this year.
“We’ve got sign waiting lists in orthopedic surgery, we’ve had our challenges in general surgery, and to be honest overall growth in capacity is what we need.”
The funding boost will specifically enable Ballarat Base Hospital to build new theatres, open more beds and buy more equipment.
Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said patients who had been waiting the longest would be prioritised when the funding came online in 2016-2017.
Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard said the investment would help get Ballarat people “healthy and happy at work, or at home with their families”.
“The sooner they can get their surgeries, the sooner they can recover and get back to their normal lives,” he said.
Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight said the investment also meant more Ballarat people could be treated locally.