Concerns budget cuts will close hospital beds in the Hunter

The Hunter’s four Federal Labor MPs are combining to call on the Abbott government to reconsider its cuts to state health budgets, saying hospital beds could close in the region as a result.

The MPs estimate the Hunter New England health district will lose around $156 million over the next five years due to the Federal budget cuts to state health services.

They say the Central Coast health district stands to lose around $60 million.

The New South Wales Premier Mike Baird is predicting the cuts state-wide will lead to 300 hospital beds closing.

Charlton MP Pat Conroy says health services will suffer in the Hunter where hospitals are stretched to the limit.

“These are cuts that start on the first of July, this year,” he said.

“I’m concerned about people having to wait longer for emergency treatment and I’m also concerned about the removal of services that people really need.

“We’ve already seen Hunter New England Health remove psychiatric and other services from their community centres.”

Mr Conroy says it is not good enough for the Prime Minister to ask the state governments to simply pick up the shortfall.

“This is money that was committed to the states they had every expectation they were receiving this money.

“They planned for this money, and as a result of this heartless cut by the Prime Minister, we’re going to have to see wards cut, beds removed, services curtailed and that’s going to have a dramatic impact on families up here.”

Source: ABC